WARNER ROBINS -- The old Oscar Thomie Homes public housing neighborhood is getting turned into rubble.
Demolition began Tuesday and will continue until about June, said Sheryl Frazier, executive director of the Warner Robins Public Housing Authority.
The authority determined in 2010 that the homes, built in 1963, would not be cost effective to renovate. Starting in 2011 residents started moving into other public housing units, and the last moved out in about 2012.
Since that time the 70 vacant units have needed a good bit of attention because of homeless people using them, creating potential risk of fire or injury, officials have said.
So getting started with the demolition was a big enough deal that the authority held a ceremony there Tuesday morning before the first brick fell.
“We are just overjoyed that we are at this point where we can take them down,” Frazier said. “The past three years have been difficult, in more than one way.”
The authority has plans to replace the housing with a mixed-income development that will include standard public housing, open-market rentals and home ownership. However, it’s not certain that will be built on the same property. Frazier said the development may happen in another area of the city.
Oscar Thomie Homes is located off Ignico Drive just across from Robins Air Force Base. The area is located adjacent to a neighborhood that is the target of the encroachment initiative, in which the state is buying homes to reduce the number of people living near the base. Those homes are in a zone that has been determined to be at risk for aircraft crashes and excessive noise.
However, the Oscar Thomie Homes area, while it is nearby, is not in the encroachment zone. Frazier said encroachment will not have any bearing on whether the land will be used as the site for a new housing development.
To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.