Home improvement: Pine Trace housing developments to get upgrades

Published 4:05 am Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Ground was officially broken Tuesday morning for upgrades and renovations at Pine Trace Homes I and II, public housing developments under the jurisdiction of the Bogalusa Housing Authority (BHA).

Pine Trace Homes I and II is a subsidized affordable development located on five separate sites — 1015 Union Ave., 600 Brazos St., 1200 Highland Park Loop, 700 River Terrace Drive and 915 E. Fourth St. The $28.4-million project will feature 232 newly renovated units converted through the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program.

Project officials said that the work will contribute 281 jobs in the community during the construction phase, and will bring 69 jobs to the area following construction. It is hoped that the project will improve energy efficiency, extend the useful life of all major systems, and improve the qualify of life for the residents.

The Pine Trace Homes I and II projects are preservation efforts that will include rehabilitation at the newly named sites of Union Pointe (formerly Sunset Acres and Sunset Addition), Ivy Trace (formerly Bogue), The Oaks (formerly River Terrance) and Lumberton Cove (formerly Highland Park).

The project is expected to be completed in January of 2020.

The groundbreaking was marked by a short ceremony Tuesday morning near the BHA headquarters on Union Avenue. John Gallaspy, who served as the BHA’s counsel for more than 50 years, was the emcee.

Gallaspy recognized Helen Applewhite, one of the BHA’s original employees, as one of the special officials in attendance. Bogalusa Mayor Wendy Perrette said that the improvement project is much needed for the community.

“The city of Bogalusa’s need for affordable housing is a necessity,” Perrette said. “I believe that this upgrade will instill pride into our community, as well as the residents of this establishment. They’re going to be at the top of the line, and other cities are going to mimic the city of Bogalusa in these upgrades.

“I’m excited to see this come to light. The city of Bogalusa’s residents deserve it, and they need it.”

Holly Knight, CEO and principal of BGC Advantage, spoke about some of the planned improvements in more detail. BGC Advantage, headquartered in Ruston, is partnering with the BHA on the project.

Knight said that the project would include new flooring, modern lighting and energy efficiency. As one example, she noted the cost of heating water should fall from an average of $500 per year to just $185.

“This is not just about sustainability in the units, it’s also about financial stability for the residents as well,” Knight said.

Knight also said the residences would have new central air and heating, as well as washers and dryers.

“When you come by in a few months, you’ll start seeing the progress,” she said. “And I think that you’ll see that a lot of change is really happening here.”

The improvement project is made possible through a partnership with the Bogalusa Housing Authority, RedStone Equity Partners, Bellwether Enterprise, Sterling Park, Louisiana Housing Corporation (LHC), the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and BGC Advantage.