BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Brand new, affordable housing opened in Mid City on Wednesday. The energy efficient complex replaces the old Capitol City South Apartments on North Boulevard. City and state leaders hope it will effect a positive change neighborhood-wide.
A project four years in the making was completed on Wednesday with the grand opening of the Mid City Gardens Apartment and Activity Center. The 14,000 square foot housing development cost more than $12 million, all of it in federal funds, to build.
"The purpose of those funds is to take down foreclosed and blighted properties, and to rebuild and revitalize and rebuild housing. And this is exactly what we've done today," said Mike Airhart, chairman of the board for the Louisiana Housing Corporation.
Airhart says the development has 60 units, a community, rooftop garden and other energy saving features.
"This development has solar panels on the roof, the community center is LEED certified and the residential units are extremely energy efficient---having as low as $25 a month utility bills," said Airhart.
Mayor Kip Holden praises the Mid City Gardens as a positive change for a blighted, crime ridden area, and he says the city is getting some appreciated help from Uncle Sam.
"You see people always criticizing money coming from Washington. This money coming from Washington now is giving people a chance to have affordable housing, and at the same time bring their families up in a good environment," said Holden.
This is based on neighborhood renewal projects undertaken in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, and Airhart says he's watched those projects do wonders in parts of that city.
"I had the fortunate pleasure to walk the Columbia Park development in New Orleans, and it is amazing to see town home-style, multi-family developments that you can see there. It is revitalizing that area and changing that area," said Airhart.
Airhart says Mid City Gardens won't instantly solve all of the area's issues, but it's a good start on two big problems.
Airhart says the Louisiana Housing Corporation is considering another property in foreclosure on Eddie Robinson---in South Baton Rouge.