Decatur Housing Authority celebrates grand opening of Trinity Walk apartmentsDoug Faust, executive director of the Decatur Housing Authority, addresses the assembled guests at the Grand Opening of Trinity Walk, the DHA’s redevelopment of the former Gateway Manor and Oakview apartments at 121 West Trinity Place in downtown Decatur. Seated behind Faust are (L-R): Fred Boykin, City of Decatur Mayor Pro Tem, Dakar Gibbs, Bank of America senior vice president and David Pedrick, Southface senior technical project manager. Photo by Judith Vanderver Photography
The Decatur Housing Authority began planning Trinity Walk in 2012, renovating the old Gateway Manor project that had been there since 1969.
On Oct. 5, the Housing Authority and city leaders gathered to celebrate the opening of the 121 unit apartment community on West Trinity Place.
“Affordable housing is the foundation of a stable home and stable community,” Housing Authority Executive Director Doug Faust told the audience.
Trinity Walk consists of one, two and three bedroom energy-efficient apartments and town homes in six three story buildings. It is close to public transportation, shopping, medical care and recreation facilities. The Ebster Recreation Center is just down the street. During the development, DHA provided a transportation stipend to City Schools of Decatur students at Gateway Manor who had to be relocated due to the construction.
The DHA plans to begin Phase III of the project this year, redeveloping DHA-owned property on Oakview Road in Oakhurst.
When it’s completed, there will be 34 units, 27 for low income residents and seven apartments set at a market rate. The building would be three stories. Construction could begin in 2018, and proposed amenities include an on-site community room, computer lab, resident garden, tot lot for young children, access to on-site health information in an exam room.
Decaturish was invited to tour one of the units at the new Trinity Walk:
Here is the full press release from the Decatur Housing Authority about the opening of the first two phases of the project:
Decatur Housing Authority Officially Opens Phase I and II of Trinity Walk in Downtown Decatur
DECATUR, GA – A crowd of dignitaries, Trinity Walk residents, local officials, project partners and neighbors gathered on Oct. 5 for the official opening of Phases I and II of Trinity Walk, the exciting redevelopment of the former Gateway Manor and Oakview apartments at 421 West Trinity Place in downtown Decatur by the Decatur Housing Authority (DHA). Following an invocation by Pastor David Lewicki of North Decatur Presbyterian Church, DHA Executive Director Doug Faust welcomed the morning’s speakers:
Jon Abercrombie, Vice Chairman of the DHA Board of Commissioners
Fred Boykin, Mayor Pro Tem, City of Decatur
Laurel Hart, Housing Finance and Development Division Director, Georgia Department of Community Affairs
David Pedrick, Senior Technical Project Manager, Southface
Dakar Gibbs, Senior Vice President, Bank of America
“Affordable housing is the foundation of a stable community,” said Faust. “Families are free to focus their energies on health, education and employment if they have a safe and comfortable place to live.” Faust went on to thank the many partners that made the redevelopment possible, especially the City of Decatur, U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD), Southface Energy Institute/EarthCraft and the residents themselves.
Abercrombie praised the City of Decatur School System for working in partnership with DHA to create and oversee programs for students who live at Trinity Walk. Efforts include the STARS After School and Summer Enrichment Programs, as well as a scholarship program. Boykin welcomed the residents to their new homes, noting that Trinity Walk is part of an overall redevelopment of the City of Decatur. Hart noted that the Low Income Tax Credit Program has helped create about a thousand affordable communities throughout Georgia, and allows local governments to determine how the Tax Credits will work best in their own communities. Pedrick remarked that Southface was proud to partner with DHA and praised both DHA and the City of Decatur for their commitment to green building and sustainable design. Gibbs, whose bank is committed to investing in community development, shared with the audience that he understands on a personal level what quality affordable housing means to hardworking families, since he grew up in an underserved community.
Trinity Walk features 121 one, two and three-bedroom energy-efficient apartment flats and townhomes in six contemporary, three-story buildings. Thirty-two of the apartments were created for the elderly and/or disabled, while the remaining 89 units were designed for families. Trinity Walk’s first two phases are already fully occupied. Following remarks, a ribbon-cutting and refreshments, guests were invited to tour the property and visit one of the apartment homes. In addition to Trinity Park residents, partners for the redevelopment include the City of Decatur, City Schools of Decatur, MARTA, Hudson Housing Partners, Sugar Creek Realty, Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, HUD, SK Collaborative, TERRACON, LM Consultants, Hemenway Group, LLC, McCurdy & Candler, LLC, Arnall Golden Gregory LLP, CohnReznick, LLP, Wylde Center, Bryant Pharmacy & Compounding and DeKalb County Cooperative Extension EFNEP Program. The architect for Trinity Walk is Lord Aeck Sargent and Kimley-Horn is the landscape architect and project engineer. Bradley Construction is the general contractor. www.decaturhousing.org
These strategic partnerships were formed to create innovative solutions to development challenges and to build a transformational community that went beyond simply providing housing. The programs and solutions include:
HUD splitting the Trinity Walk affordability contract into two separate contracts to cover units in Phase I and Phase II, ensuring residents did not suffer any disruption in their housing assistance throughout the redevelopment process.
Working with the City of Decatur and HUD to minimize resident relocation and offering families choice-based temporary housing.
Partnering with Decatur City Schools to ensure that Trinity Walk children who were temporarily relocated could continue to attend the city’s award-winning public schools. DHA provided transportation stipends where needed to assist in getting the relocated children to and from school.
Building a community garden onsite and partnering with Decatur’s Wylde Center and the University of Georgia Extension Service to offer onsite gardening, cooking and nutrition programs.
Working with local business Bryant Pharmacy to provide free, regular health screenings to residents.
Collaborating with Decatur Education Foundation, local citizens and Decatur businesses to create The Opportunity Partnership, a mentoring program for low income students. The program connects the students with quality opportunities to help them explore their interests, find their passions and develop useful life skills.
Offering DHA’s award-winning STARS Afterschool Program onsite for younger students, which includes tutoring, homework assistance, reading, computer skills and enrichment classes.
The Trinity Walk apartments were constructed to EarthCraft green building specifications and will receive EarthCraft Multifamily and EarthCraft Communities certifications. The community was designed with a central Greenway that allows residents to move throughout the campus without interacting with cars at most street crossings. The Greenway features community gardens, seating and gathering areas and a “tot lot”.
The Trinity Walk property includes innovative stormwater retention solutions. The site infrastructure minimizes the use of pipes to convey runoff, and instead, features a green system made up of enhanced bio-swales which naturally filter the water and return it to the soil, three bioretention areas and an 8,000-gallon stormwater cistern which captures roof runoff for irrigation reuse. In addition, DHA worked with the City of Decatur to obtain capacity in the city’s new regional stormwater retention facility.
Sylvia Walker and her children were among the first residents of Trinity Walk. “This community has been a blessing to my family. It’s safe and secure, and my children can attend Decatur public schools. I now have an easy commute to my job, and in our free time our family enjoys the many nearby community activities.”
“Trinity Walk is more than bricks and mortar, it’s a transformational community,” said Faust. “The redevelopment team focused on healthy living, which incorporates energy efficient building design and materials along with numerous community features to encourage neighbor interaction and outdoor pursuits. The nearly 6-acre Trinity Walk campus boasts two children’s playgrounds, an outdoor community gathering area, raised garden beds and a 1/3 mile walking trail. The onsite community Resource Center includes a fully-equipped computer room, recreational area, kitchen, classrooms and laundry facility.
“Thanks to a far-reaching and innovative community partnership, DHA has been able to transform a deteriorated and obsolete housing project into a model apartment community that meets far more than just the need for affordable housing ,” continued Faust. “Trinity Walk is a beautiful, sustainable, and functional community which will even further enhance the vitality, diversity and civic pride of downtown Decatur.”
About the Decatur Housing Authority
The Decatur Housing Authority (DHA) has served the needs of the residents of the City of Decatur since its creation in 1938. In addition to its role in developing, owning and managing public housing, DHA has made a significant impact on the economic growth and well-being of this small city, not only by providing much-needed workforce and affordable housing for over 1,600 families in the greater Decatur area, but also by redeveloping substandard housing and working to provide families with the necessary tools to build better lives through self-sufficiency. www.decaturhousing.org