DECATUR, GA -- The Decatur Housing Authority (DHA) will hold a Grand Opening Ceremony for Phases I and II of Trinity Walk, the exciting redevelopment of the former Gateway Manor and Oakview apartments in downtown Decatur, near Atlanta. The new, affordable apartment community at 421 West Trinity Place is fully occupied and now boasts 121 one, two and three-bedroom energy-efficient apartment flats and townhomes in six contemporary, three-story buildings. Thirty-two of the apartments were created for the elderly and/or disabled, while the remaining 89 units were designed for families. The Grand Opening will be held at Trinity Walk on Tuesday, Sept. 12 at 10 a.m. Invited guests include Decatur’s Mayor and City Council, HUD officials, DHA staff project investors and partners and Trinity Walk residents, who worked with DHA, HUD and the City of Decatur to create a unique revitalization strategy for the redevelopment.
“The former Gateway Manor development spanned two highly desirable locations in downtown Decatur, but the buildings were over 50 years old and were completely outdated in design and function, and lacked any amenities,” said Doug Faust, executive director of the Decatur Housing Authority. “Our residents value the community’s location with its proximity to MARTA, Decatur City schools, downtown jobs and many city amenities. We spent a great deal of time strategizing with our partners and the residents to create achievable development goals.”
They included: Maintaining affordability for the apartment homes; Minimizing resident relocation during the redevelopment, especially for families with children attending City of Decatur schools and for the elderly and disabled; Identifying and providing amenities within the new Trinity Walk community valued by the residents and reflective of the greater Decatur area; and Utilizing the highest standards of urban design and sustainability in architecture, landscape architecture and planning.
“Our phased program of redevelopment on the occupied site was designed to minimize resident inconvenience and allow us to move temporarily relocated residents into other DHA units during construction,” Faust continued. “Phase III, which is planned to begin later this year, will be a redevelopment of the community’s Oakhurst location. In addition to our residents, partners for the redevelopment include the City of Decatur, City Schools of Decatur, MARTA, Hudson Housing Capital, Sugar Creek Capital, Bank of America, Merrill Lynch and HUD. The architect for Trinity Walk is Lord Aeck Sargent and Kimley-Horn is the landscape architect and project engineer. Bradley Construction is the general contractor.”
The Trinity Walk apartments were constructed to EarthCraft green building specifications and will receive EarthCraft Multifamily and EarthCraft Communities certifications. Low to mid-rise buildings that qualify must meet a number of sustainability standards, including environmental performance, indoor air quality, building durability, comfort and affordability. Some of the specific features found at Trinity Walk are water efficient plumbing fixtures, ENERGY STAR appliances, energy efficient lighting, high-performance building envelope, and Low-VOC paints. The community was designed with a central Greenway that allows residents to move throughout the campus without interacting with cars at most street crossings. The Greenway features community gardens, seating and gathering areas and a “tot lot”.
The Trinity Walk property includes innovative stormwater retention solutions. The site infrastructure minimizes the use of pipes to convey runoff, and instead, features a green system made up of enhanced bio-swales which naturally filter the water and return it to the soil, three bioretention areas and an 8,000-gallon stormwater cistern which captures roof runoff for irrigation reuse. In addition, DHA was able to work with the City of Decatur to obtain capacity in the city’s new regional stormwater retention. A landscaped stream buffer has been created to protect adjacent Peavine Creek and provide outdoor amenities for the Trinity Walk residents. Plantings and trees within the buffer and throughout the development enhance Trinity Walk’s viability and aesthetics.
“Trinity Walk is more than bricks and mortar, it’s a transformational community,” said Faust. “The redevelopment team focused on healthy living, which incorporates energy efficient building design and materials along with numerous community features to encourage neighbor interaction and outdoor pursuits. The nearly 6-acre Trinity Walk campus now boasts two children’s playgrounds, an outdoor community gathering area, raised garden beds and a 1/3 mile walking trail. The onsite community Resource Center includes a fully-equipped computer room, recreational area, kitchen, classrooms and laundry facility. Decatur’s Wylde Center will continue their popular garden club program which has facilitated many residents growing vegetables, herbs and fruit in the community garden. Nutrition classes provided by the University of Georgia Extension Service, along with Wylde Center cooking classes and tasting opportunities, have encouraged residents of all ages to incorporate more fresh produce into their diets. We are also excited to announce a new partnership with Bryant Pharmacy to do regular resident health screenings such as blood pressure and diabetes monitoring.”
With a goal of student achievement, DHA has joined with Decatur Education Foundation, local citizens and Decatur businesses in The Opportunity Partnership. This collaborative mentoring program for low income students connects the students with quality opportunities to help them explore their interests, find their passions and develop useful life skills. Younger students are also eligible to participate in DHA’s award-winning STARS Afterschool Program which offers tutoring, homework assistance, reading, computer skills and enrichment classes.
“Thanks to a far-reaching and innovative community partnership, DHA has been able to transform a deteriorated and obsolete housing project into a model apartment community that meets far more than just the need for affordable housing ,” said Faust. “Trinity Walk is a beautiful, sustainable, and functional community which will even further enhance the vitality, diversity and civic pride of downtown Decatur.”
About the Decatur Housing Authority: The Decatur Housing Authority (DHA) has served the needs of the residents of the City of Decatur since its creation in 1938. In addition to its role in developing, owning and managing public housing, DHA has made a significant impact on the economic growth and well-being of this small city, not only by providing much-needed workforce and affordable housing for over 1,600 families in the greater Decatur area, but also by redeveloping substandard housing and working to provide families with the necessary tools to build better lives through self-sufficiency. www.decaturhousing.org