Housing Authority seeks new 'Choice' for McIntosh community

Proposed layout for the McIntosh community. / Jessica Fairley

The Albany Housing Authority is seeking a multi-million dollar grant that will change the look of the McIntosh Community.

If approved for a federal Choice Implementation Grant, the Albany Housing Authority has a plan for how the $130 million in funds will be spent. The goal is to provide access to those living in the McIntosh community.

"We're certainly not doing anything that would be considered gentrification of the neighborhood. We're going to be bringing home income into the neighborhood but we're also going to be providing housing for those who are already there," says Dan McCarthy, Albany Housing Authority Executive Director.

The name of the community will be changed to 'The Oaks at North In-Town' while the look of the neighborhood would change the from 1940's style community housing units to modern homes with access from the street.

Housing units will be torn down and replaced but before this happens residents will be temporarily displaced.

"Everyone will have an option to come back into the neighborhood if they so desire," says Dan McCarthy.

In addition to an upgrade of housing, officials anticipate an improvement on the quality of life for residents.

"The people's plan includes a series of programs that address education, healthcare and public safety," says Grace Perdomo, Planning Director with the Boulevard Group.

Residents who attended one of two informational forums on Tuesday weighed the pros and cons of what's being offered. One mother and resident says she's anticipating the new changes.

"It will be safe for the kids. Everything will be in walking distance. Everything will be one community all together like schooling and healthy communities," says Barbara Jackson.

Proponents are optimistic about receiving the Choice Grant but if the funds aren't there, they'll continue to uplift the community.

"We've got a number of agencies that have already committed to do things regardless of whether or not we get the funding to do the bricks and mortar. So we're already beginning to improve the community," says Dan McCarthy.

The next step for the Albany Housing Authority is presenting the plan to the Albany Board of Commissioners.