Hall County has allocated $45,000 to finish paving Baker Road, which juts off Candler Road.
“Baker Road was never completed,” said Public Works Director Ken Rearden. “It needs the wear surface of asphalt.”
This will provide better access to the Copper Glen subdivision where Habitat for Humanity is building 21 homes.
There had been concerns that the costs might be shifted to Habitat, but those fears were alleviated after the commission’s commitment.
“It’s a county road,” said Commissioner Scott Gibbs. “It’s our responsibility.”
The subdivision land had been foreclosed on before a donor purchased the platted lots and gave them to Habitat to build homes.
Commissioner Scott Gibbs said the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation relieved bonds on the property.
“Unfortunately, this was not the only (property) in the county that we had like this,” he added.
Rearden also said that his staff inspected stormwater pipes in the neighborhood to ensure they are not subject to failure.
“We’re greatly appreciative that the Hall County Commission recognizes the importance of the Habitat for Humanity program,” said Executive Director Ann Nixon. “We look forward to getting started on that neighborhood.”
The Copper Glen subdivision will include green space and a walking trail, plus a community garden.
Habitat for Humanity of Hall County will build the homes over a three- to five-year time frame, depending on funding. Each home costs about $80,000 to complete.
The organization raised a record $220,000 at its annual fundraiser last September, which will help get the subdivision started.
Habitat Building Director Tim Williams said he anticipates raising two or three homes in August, with more to come later this year.
“The ball is definitely rolling,” Nixon said.
Habitat has built 50 homes over the past 25 years in Hall County.
Homeowners enter a 20-year mortgage with zero percent interest held by the nonprofit.
Mortgage payments are then reinvested in additional home-building projects.
Habitat homeowners can typically purchase their new residence at 30 to 40 percent below market value.
Homeowners must also put in hours of “sweat equity” on someone else’s home before they can get their own home, while also putting down a $1,500 deposit and completing a financial education course.
Nixon said the initial complication with Baker Road provided a good lesson and will make the organization stronger going forward.
“Accepting the donation of a property on the surface seems like a very straightforward activity,” she added. “Yes, we appreciate the support of the community. What we need to understand is what the underlying implications of that donation may be.”