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Monday, June 30,2014

Kids in the Hall

Council approves low-income housing project in Abigail building

by BECKY McKENDRY
MONDAY, June 30 — The Lansing City Council approved the Abigail project tonight, clearing the way for low and moderate income housing to proceed in the Abigail Building on the former campus of the Michigan School for the Blind. 

The project got the green light via a two-part vote. The first portion passed 6-1, with First Ward Councilwoman Jody Washington as the only opposing vote. The second portion passed 5-2, with Councilwoman Carol Wood joining Washington in a no vote, saying that she wished to postpone the vote until she received requested information from developers. The vote had already been postponed on June 16. 

During the Committee of the Whole meeting that preceded the vote, Washington cited several concerns regarding the $15 million development project, adding that she believed the area wasn’t right for the project.

“I still say we have a high concentration of low and affordable housing in that area,” she said.
Washington did say that she supported the idea behind the project, just not the location. 

“I’ve lived in affordable housing,” she said. “I have nothing against poor people.”

During public comment, resident Willy Williams chastised Washington for her dissent.

“I’m appalled, Ms. Washington, at your snobby discussion of where to put the homeless and the poor,” he said. “I don’t care if you were one.”

Construction of the 44 low and moderate-income housing units should begin in 2015. Fourth Ward Councilwoman Jessica Yorko was absent from the meeting.

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