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It Takes a Village — Tindall Heights a success story

Tindall Heights redevelopment plans

Macon's Tindall Heights is being torn down as part of planned $45 development. The first phase will include the construction of Tindall Senior Towers.
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Macon's Tindall Heights is being torn down as part of planned $45 development. The first phase will include the construction of Tindall Senior Towers.

The Macon Housing Authority is a public housing authority charted in 1938 under the laws of the State of Georgia. While MHA is governmental in nature, it is not a part of the general city or county government and thusly uses no local tax revenue in its operation. The majority of MHA’s revenue is derived from rents and federal subsidies.

The mission of MHA is to add value to the community and the lives of those they serve through quality housing, support services and community development. In support of this mission, one of the primary goals of MHA is to “promote the economic and social upward mobility of public housing residents.”

Shortly after MHA was chartered in 1938, the first section of Tindall Heights opened in 1940. At the time of its opening, Tindall Heights was considered state-of-the-art with rent which included electricity, water and natural gas at $2.50 a week. More importantly, more than two decades before integration, Tindall Heights was Macon’s first public housing complex built exclusively for blacks.

Consequently, sometime during the late ‘50s and early ‘60s, my mother, oldest brother Frank. along with me, my sister and younger brother, moved to Apt. 56D Tindall Heights. And this was the beginning of life as we knew it in Macon.

At that time, residents of Tindall Heights who were of grade school age attended B.S. Ingram Elementary school and so did my siblings and me. Furthermore, my siblings and me walked to and from school daily. Despite walking to school daily, it should be noted that my siblings and I were often recognized for perfect attendance. Residents of Tindall Heights watched children going and coming from school each day and rest assured if any child detoured from the appropriate route, somehow their mother would find out — and believe me — my mother found out every time I detoured.

To that end there was an elderly lady name Ms. Odell who lived a couple of doors down from us who knew everything about everybody and she never hesitated to tell me that she would tell my mother what I was doing. Ms. Odell was also our caretaker when my mother was working so there was no getting away with anything. Trust me, I tried.

Additionally, my mother had a policy that no matter what happened at school, the school better not call her. If they did, there were consequences. This rule also applied to neighbors like Ms. Odell if she saw anyone doing anything wrong.

Macon's Tindall Heights is being torn down as part of planned $45 development. The first phase will include the construction of Tindall Senior Towers.

Upon learning of the demolition of Tindall Heights, my brother Frank and I decided to go back to Apt. 56D and have one last nostalgic look at what was home during the most important years of our lives. Since it takes more than bricks and mortar or funding to help people make a home, Frank and I wanted to go back to the place that taught us that it does take a village. After all, life in Apt. 56D instilled an obligation in us to give back to the community that gave us so much.

As a direct consequence of that, Frank is currently the executive director of Family Counseling Center of Central Georgia and an adjunct professor at Mercer University; formerly: MHA director of Housing Management; executive director of Renaissance Housing Partnership; Bibb County DFCS Service Program director; Bibb County Mental Retardation Service Center Senior Human Service technician, among other pursuits.

While I, on the other hand, am currently a substitute teacher, an insurance agent and a retired DFCS supervisor for economic support. Finally, Frank and I learned from growing up in Tindall Heights that it does take a village to raise a child and that we must give back to the community that has defined who and what we have become. All of which would not be possible without the early life we experienced in Tindall Heights.

If the mission goal of MHA is to “promote the economic and social upward mobility of public housing residents,” then as it relates to Frank and me, thanks MHA: Mission accompished.

Leroy Mack is a resident of Macon and a member of The Telegraph’s Citizen Advisory Committee.

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