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GA: Augusta approves $2.8 million for broke Hyde Park project

The city has already blown through $4.5 million to give poor residents from a run-down neighborhood new houses, but now they’ve got even more taxpayer dollars to spend.

Augusta, Ga. city leaders approved an addition $2.8 million for the controversial Hyde Park project, which involves relocating residents of the Hyde Park neighborhood to build a drainage pond.

But they don’t have the money to build the pond yet. Heck, they don’t even have the money to relocate everyone yet either. An earlier report suggested that $5.3 million is needed to complete relocations.

The Augusta Chronicle has details about Tuesday’s vote:

Decades after their neighborhood was marked with warning signs, residents of Augusta’s Hyde Park were promised Tuesday that they would finally be relocated to new homes.

Augusta Commission members voted 10-0 to use $2.8 million in sales taxes, which had been dedicated to engineering projects that are now covered by Transportation Investment Act funds, specifically for the relocation effort.

About 70 homeowners and renters remain in the south Augusta neighborhood, which will be leveled for a city detention pond.

Residents such as Horton Drive homeowner Louise Douse, 73, were cautiously optimistic after years of being told their neighborhood was unsafe and not to make improvements to their homes because they’d soon be relocated.

“I’m satisfied, as long as they go ahead and put it in action without delay,” said Douse, who has lived in the neighborhood since the mid-1950s.

Of course, if you are a resident, what’s not to love? You get a newer, nicer house in a better neighborhood. Except that many of these people aren’t prepared for the higher property taxes. At least one elderly woman is struggling to afford her new taxes, according to sources.

The city has taken advantage of Hyde Park’s residents to obtain valuable property that is located near important transportation infrastructure. In the process, the city has spend $4.5 million, and that’s not even half of what they plan to spend.

If you ask them where the money went, they refuse to tell you, citing the need to keep real estate transactions private. The city commission was planning to audit the project, but then scrapped that plan, again citing privacy concerns.

Though mainstream media reports cite how happy residents were upon hearing the news about additional funding, not everyone wants to leave. Is the city prepared to use eminent domain?

Though the people wanting to move have been more vocal, multiple residents have spoken at length to Watchdog Wire. They remain anonymous to protect themselves from the city.

For more on Hyde Park, check out all of our reports (listed in chronological order):

AUGUSTA, GEORGIA SEIZES PROPERTY, REFUSES TO ANSWER QUESTIONS ABOUT HYDE PARK PROJECT

AUGUSTA, GA VIOLATES OPEN RECORDS ACT

AUGUSTA, GA SPENDS $1 MILLION ON RELOCATIONS DESPITE FINANCIAL PROBLEMS

PROPERTY BATTLE IN AUGUSTA: HYDE PARK RESIDENTS CONFUSED, ANGRY OVER RELOCATION

GEORGIA CITY WITH QUESTIONABLE LAND GRAB HAS HISTORY OF MISUSING HUD MONEY

GA: AUGUSTA COMMISSION APPROVES MORE FUNDING FOR BROKE HYDE PARK PROJECT

GA: AUGUSTA COMMISSIONERS ORDER CITY TO FIND MORE FUNDS FOR BROKE HYDE PARK PROJECT

GA: GOVERNMENT INCOMPETENCE LEADS TO VANDALISM IN HYDE PARK

GA: AUGUSTA COMMISSION WON’T AUDIT HYDE PARK SPENDING AMID HOUSING DIRECTOR RESIGNATION

Featured image: Shutterstock.com 

Josh Kaib

Josh Kaib is the Assistant Editor of Watchdog Wire. Twitter: @joshkaib

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Categories: Budget and Finance, Must Read, Waste, Fraud and Abuse
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