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Developer receives tax credit
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The private development group Affordable Equity Partners recently received a state tax credit, which will allow it to build 32 homes in the Walker’s Bend subdivision off Ga. Highway 81.

The Missouri-based company will be building single-family, cottage-style homes, the company’s Atlanta representative Jim Markel said previously. The homes would likely be rented and sold to people though extended lease-purchases. The properties will be of a higher quality than existing homes in the neighborhood, and will have 1,500-square-foot interiors and cost $85-$90 to build, Markel said.

“This is a huge step forward in Walker’s Bend.  I believe we are near the top of the hill with our big, heavy ball and soon we are going to be able to count on momentum for assistance in finishing the development,” said Planning Director Randy Vinson in an e-mail to city officials.

The Covington Redevelopment Authority has been working to revitalize the neighborhood and has plans that call for open public space and commercial properties at the entrance of the neighborhood. As of June, the authority had purchased 45 lots in Walker’s Bend; most of them were foreclosed, bank-owned properties.

In March, Vinson said the city was focusing on Walker’s Bend because most of the subdivision was in foreclosure. The city and authority saw the neighborhood as being on the verge of becoming a slum and hoped to turn it around through concentrated investment, he said previously. Homes originally sold in that neighborhood for more than $100,000, but were routinely selling for $50,000 or less in 2010.