Housing Authority reveals location of potential new Pecan Acres

Chairman of the Starkville Housing Authority Board Loren Bell discusses the potential new Pecan Acres development during their meeting on Thursday. (Photo by Logan Kirkland, SDN)
Staff Writer

The Starkville Housing Authority revealed the location of the potential new Pecan Acres development during its meeting on Thursday.

The location, which was previously undisclosed due to a confidentiality agreement, is located on Highway 182 across from Longs Lake by Talley Ho Road.

Attorney Johnny Moore proposed a plan to the Starkville Board of Aldermen in April where a 70,000-square foot replica of Pecan Acres could be built in an area approved by the Fair Housing Administration.

Moore said the plan would be to take Pecan Acres’ previous location and put approximately $150 million worth of infrastructure and development on the property.

As for the residents, Moore said the units would be built before moving the residents in. Residents will not be displaced for any period of time.

The Housing Authority agreed to have a public hearing about the possible new development on July 12 at the Greensboro Center.

“The public hearing is required through the demolition disposition application process,” Modernization Coordinator Johnny Taylor said. “We have to have multiple resident meetings, then we have to have a public hearing where anybody can come.”

Along with the public hearing, the Housing Authority will host a triad of meetings with tenants on June 6. The times of the meetings are at 10:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. to meet the needs for all of the tenants.

Chairman of the Starkville Housing Authority Board Loren Bell said all of the residents know about the project, but the only questions they have received are: will their rent go up, who is going to move and how they can get into the new development?

Bell said he doesn’t think the potential new location could rise to be an issue because it was something the board strongly took into consideration.

He said with this location, the tenants of Pecan Acres would be minutes away from the hospital, grocery stores, schools and downtown.

“We looked at four official locations,” Bell said. “We had the opportunities to go out farther to the bypass area and other places, but we just didn’t think that was good for our tenants.”

Bell said with the proposed development, tenants have not shown any hesitation, but the board will be open to listen if there are concerns.

“It doesn’t matter exactly what you do, nobody is ever always happy,” Bell said. “But for the majority of our tenants, I’ve heard no complaints about anything.”

When asked about complaints from residents within the area of the proposed new location, Bell said he has not heard any complaints, but does expect residents will have questions, now that the location is revealed.

“I think that what we are going to try to implement is not going to be something that will hurt values,” Bell said.

Taylor said the new project will have brick, siding and other attributions, because the board wants the new Pecan Acres to look like a normal subdivision and not a public housing project.

Taylor said the Housing Authority will move the tenants with a moving company and they will not have to pay any of the expenses. He said they will also cover deposit costs for the utilities.

“They will be inconvenienced a little bit, but they’re going to get a brand new unit, I think it’s going to be well worth it,” Taylor said.

Bell said the Housing Authority spends thousands of dollars on maintenance, but if the new Pecan Acres is built, they will not have issues for five to 10 years.

He said this will allow the board to allocate those savings into their other units. During the meeting, there was also interest to include the McDowell Housing into the project, which is an elderly and disabled unit.

“We’re going to impact the whole Housing Authority,” Bell said.

As the project was brought to the table, Bell said he noticed one reservation from the public is that an investor could potentially profit from this deal.

Bell said although the property value Pecan Acres is currently located on is worth exponentially more than the property it could be moved to, the investors are taking a risk on the property.

Even though the board is excited about the project, Bell said if tenants showed a large amount of concern he doesn’t think they would push through.

“The reason we’re having (the public hearing) is because we value their opinion,” Bell said “That’s required for us, they’ve got to be in favor of this project before we can continue to move on."