Magnolia Trace: Expect Fireworks in Evans Tonight

Originally posted on CityStink
Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2011
Evans, GA

Al M. Gray, President of Cost Recovery Works, Inc. contributed multidisciplinary review techniques in support of this article. Cost Recovery Works is no longer in business, as of December 31, 2020.

It may not be the Fourth of July, but expect to hear some loud fireworks over the Columbia County Government Center in Evans tonight. Angry residents from Petersburg Station and other Martinez neighborhoods surrounding the controversial Magnolia Trace low-income rental housing development plan to show up in large numbers at tonight’s commission meeting in protest of the development that was unanimously approved by commissioners last year. They contend that the high density low-income subsidized rental housing will erode their property values, increase crime and put a strain on neighborhood schools.

A Facebook Group opposing the development called Say No to Magnolia Trace Housing Project boasts over 225 members and that number appears to be growing by the hour. But will that translate into a large showing at tonight’s Columbia County Commission meeting?

The group has directed their ire particularly at Commission Chairman Ron Cross, who has said that the development will be a positive for their “older community” and Trey Allen, The District 2 Commissioner who represents Martinez and has also been supportive of the development. Many are particularly displeased with Allen for not showing more concern for their property values when he was a vocal opponent of stadium lights at Augusta Prep because he maintained they would erode his property values in Spring Lakes. Opponents of the Magnolia Trace subsidized housing contend that this development will have a far more negative impact on their property values than “stadium lights.”

Though Commission Chairman Ron Cross appears to be an enthusiastic supporter of the development, Sheriff Clay Whittle and School Superintendent Charles Nagle are being more cautious. There are concerns that the influx of more low-income students into that part of Martinez will make Lakeside High a Title 1 school. Sheriff Whittle also has raised concerns about crime from other rental properties in the county, especially apartment complexes, but is cautiously optimistic given assurances that the Magnolia Trace development will require criminal background checks for applicants.

Still, neighbors of Magnolia Trace are not in the least bit “optimistic” and it is still not quite clear if they will be able to stop this development. The Georgia Department of Community Affairs has already issued the subsidies and the development is already under construction. What particularly angers the residents is that they were not consulted or made aware of the nature of this development before the commission gave its approval last year.

Even if they cannot stop the development at tonight’s commission meeting, they still want to voice their anger over the actions of their elected officials in this matter. They may not show up with pitchforks and torches (organizers have promised to keep the protests civil), but tempers most certainly are running high. In fact some people are calling for the re-call of Chairman Ron Cross and Commissioner Trey Allen. That’s not likely to happen under Georgia’s re-call laws, but it illustrates the anger and frustration some residents feel over this and  what they contend is a disconnect among the elected officials and their constituents.***

 Continuing Coverage

We will have a correspondent covering tonight’s Columbia County Commission meeting and we will bring you the report (including video) as soon as it becomes available.

If You Go:

What time?  6:00pm today

Where?   Columbia County Government Center Complex Auditorium, 630 Ronald Reagan Drive, Evans

Issue:       Citizens presentation protesting The Magnolia Trace Low Income Rental Housing Development.

Related Stories:

Magnolia Trace: After the Storm

Magnolia Trace: No Trace of Trey

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  1. Has anyone else called this what it really boils down to: We don’t want too many BLACKS in Columbia Co. People wonder why I wrote Plain Talk Vol. 1 and Plain Talk Vol. 2. –For situations just like this. You can call it LOW-INCOME or whatever you want, it’s still the same. If that’s how you feel, then people will just have to deal with it, but don’t insult my intelligence by dancing around the issue. It won’t work—Now that’s just plain talk.

  2. Thanks for your comment Corey!

  3. Corey,

    YOu kow I respect you and we are on the same side against the “Man” but I disagree with you on this.

    How is it OK to take money from me (taxes) to pay for a person to live in a $190,000.00 home that they would not be able to afford without giverment assitance when my home is valued at less than that and I make my own payments?

    This is not a race issue, it is about people investing in their property and seeing that value being destroyed for the sake of profit. The developer has no interest in what color these folks are, just that they get the taxcredits and the check every month.

    do you feel it is OK for rich WHITE land developers to make money on the back of the tax payer using the working poor like this?

    Drop the race issue and see that YOU are marginalizing your own people. You assume that “low income” folks will be black. Why? I don’t see it that way, so why do you assume that it is only blacks on welfare and Section 8? The facts are just the opposite. More whites are on welfare and Section 8 than blacks.

    Have you been brain washed by the system to automatically think a negative about blacks in every situation? Have you been taught to assume that if it’s poverty, crime and problems that it is automatically blacks doing it? Does the good guy always wear white and the bad guy always wear black?

    You are smarter than this Corey; this is about a commission looking out for the greedy exploitive developers to the detriment of the citizens, just like in Richmond County.

    We must stick together against the CABAL and not allow race to divide us as it has in the past, or they will win again.


  4. sorry my computer bit the shed and i can’t upload any video from the session at this point.
    Corey, the scene did look a lot like some more vintage integration scenes, especially a young high school guy with his talk of hoodlums.

  5. When there’s a similar plan being supported in the Laney-Walker neighborhood by the Augusta Commission, there’s hardly a peep of protest. In fact, it’s touted as “revitalization.”
    Now the city is pushing for the overlay zone on the neighborhood to restrict the types of businesses in that area. No “liquor stores and pawnshops,” they keep saying. I can’t help but feel that this stated determination to ban low-class businesses reflects the planners’ view of the people they plan on moving into the area. “That’s just the sort of thing they would like to have. We’ve got to stop that.” Ya know?

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