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County aid coming for Fairview Estates
10 percent of homes foreclosed
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Newton County will attempt to revitalize the Fairview Estates subdivision by spending $1.74 million in Neighborhood Stabilization Funds to purchase and rehabilitate foreclosed and bank-owned properties. Fairview Estates is located off Fairview Road near its intersection with Salem Road.

Senior Planner Scott Sirotkin said the county chose Fairview Estates because of the high percentage of foreclosed properties, 20 foreclosed homes and vacant lots out of 150 total lots, and because of a vacant, 18-acre land tract on which the county wants to build a public, neighborhood-based park.

The county is still awaiting approval from the Department of Community Affairs to build the park, which would be phase two of the project and would take place after homes have been purchased and rehabilitated. Sirotkin said the park would be a "passive park," which means it would be mainly for walking, as opposed to "active parks", which contain ball parks, swimming pools and tennis courts. The county wants to build the park in Fairview Estates, because it could be used by residents from the surrounding neighborhoods as well.

Sirotkin said the number of properties purchased would depend on the negotiated prices and the costs of rehabilitation. Out of the $1.74 million, $1.1 million will be used to purchase properties, and the rest will be used to rehabilitate properties and help families make down payments for houses.

Sirotkin said the county will only deal with vacant, foreclosed homes, not with any occupied, foreclosed homes, because of the Uniform Relocation Assistance act, which would require the county to provide temporary housing for the occupying families.

The county has yet to decide which non-profit group it is going to partner with to purchase, rehabilitate and re-sell the properties. The county released a Request for Quotation for a non-profit partner May 20 and the RFQ deadline is June 17.

Once a partner is found, the county must satisfy NSP environmental review requirements. It will be issuing bids for this review in the next couple of weeks as well. Sirotkin said the county will probably purchase its first home by late summer or early fall.

All of the $1.74 million must be used to help families that make 120 percent or less of the area media income, $85,400 for a family of four, and at least $435,000 must be used to help families that make 50 percent of less of the area median income, $35,600 for a family of four. Call Sirotkin at 678-625-1657 for more information.

Randy Vinson, interim planning and zoning director for Covington, said the city is waiting for the DCA’s review of its latest proposal to work in the Jefferson Village, Green Acres, Nelson Heights and other neighborhoods. He said the city is expecting the review back soon and is still planning to purchase its first properties in June. The city received $428,000 in NSP money and is partnering with the local Habitat for Humanity.