The Tennessee Urban Resource Center held a press conference to announce that legal teams that will be involved in helping to insure that the residents of the Lincoln Homes Public Housing Projects gets a fair shake when it comes to the implementation of the City of Clarksville’s Smart Growth 2030 Master Plan which calls for the demolition of the Lincoln Homes Public Housing Projects, and the relocation of its current residents.
Many residents fear that their homes will be taken away from them under this plan and that they will then be placed in housing units that are not going to be affordable to low income people.
Several group such as the NAACP have been consulted on the legality of this plan and this press conference was the platform in which the Tennessee Urban Resource Center choose to present their finding and plan of action to protect the residents of the Lincoln Homes Community.
Here is the complete copy of the press statement read by the Tennessee Urban Resource Center’s Director, Mr. Terry McMoore.
Good afternoon, my name is Terry McMoore; I am the Director of the Tennessee Urban Resource Center.
Several months ago, the City of Clarksville, Tennessee and its Mayor, Johnny Piper, revealed to the public its Clarksville Smart Growth 2030 plan
Sections of this plan call for the demolition of the Lincoln Homes Public Housing Projects. The Lincoln Homes community is comprised of over 210 housing units and has a population of over 500 residents. The majority of these residents are low income, elderly and/or disabled persons.
Lincoln Homes is also located in Montgomery County’s only federally protected Super Majority Black Voting District.
For over 50 years this community has served as the birth place and springboard for numerous graduates, scholars, athletes, educators, civil rights activists, veterans and service members that now serve in our United States Armed Forces.
As you can see, Lincoln Homes has been and continues to be a vital part of Clarksville’s history and its future. Lincoln Homes has given many years to Clarksville and like many things it does need a fix up or some other form of revitalization. But this revitalization should not come at the expense of the residents under a plan that appears to mostly benefit contractors, builders, and other special interest groups.
The Clarksville Smart Growth Plan 2030 was created in part by using 14 standing committees, numerous developers, marketing groups, master planners and a host of development teams. None of the afore mentioned groups, nor the City of Clarksville’s Mayor have bothered to include any provisions in this plan that would protect and guarantee the rights of the Lincoln Homes residents and make sure that these residents will not be discriminated against or have their civil rights violated in any form whatsoever.
The Clarksville Housing Authority’s Executive Director, Wanda Mills, has made numerous statements to the media claiming that all residents will be relocated to suitable, affordable housing before any tearing down of Lincoln Homes occurs. She compared the plans for Lincoln Homes under the SmartGrowth Plan 2030 to the Henry Hale development model in Nashville. But she has neglected to mention the fact that many of the residents from that relocation model in Nashville are still looking for affordable housing today!
My organization, the Tennessee Urban Resource Center, has been in contact with the U.S. Department of Justice, the NAACP, The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), The ACLU, Vanderbilt School of Law, Nashville Bar Association Pro Bono Program and the Institute for Justice out of Washington D.C.
Collectively we will be working and consulting with these organizations and the Lincoln Homes residents to help insure that the following issues will not be over looked.
- What are the conflicts of interest concerning the number of people who serve on multiple committees for the city, marketing groups, master planning and development teams? Some of these same people have also been or are currently working on the design, development and possible implementation of this Smart Growth Master Plan, all at the same time.
- Under HUD policy the Public Housing residents must have an active organization in place to represent them. The current Lincoln Homes Residents council has not met since 2006 and their officers are only elected for 2 year terms.
- If the Lincoln Homes residents are to be relocated, will their transportation needs still be met in accordance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act?
- Does the Clarksville Smart Growth Plan 2030 exceed the federal requirements necessary to meet the needs of low income residents, the elderly and those that fall under the Americans with Disabilities Act?
- How will this plan affect the federally protected Super Majority Black Voting District?
These are just a few of the problems we recognize with this Smart Growth plan, specifically the section concerning the Lincoln Homes community. With a plan of this magnitude and with billions of dollars at stake over the next twenty years, my organization and our partners will continue to actively meet with the powers that be, engage in the monitoring, oversight and possible legal actions in the near future on these issues.