Located near Alabama State University and designed with families in mind, Paterson Court contains 200
studio, one, two, three and four-bedroom apartments. Paterson Court is the oldest of MHA’s public
housing properties and the most distressed. As such, it is an ideal candidate for a CNI Planning Grant.
Paterson Court is located in Montgomery’s Centennial Hill neighborhood, which is “both the historic and
contemporary name for this neighborhood rich with Black Heritage.” The Centennial Hill Neighborhood
Plan, which was adopted by the City of Montgomery Planning Commission in June 2008 describes
Centennial Hill as occupying “a strategic central position within the City of Montgomery. Once a
thriving and prosperous neighborhood with vibrant entertainment and clubs that drew performers and
audiences from across the country, Centennial Hill today is suffering from neglect. Many historic
buildings and homes remain in the area, though run-down or abandoned, as silent witnesses to the
affluence of the pre-Civil Rights days.”
According to HUD data, the concentration of poverty in the Centennial Hill neighborhood is 73.56%.
And the long-term vacancy rate in the target neighborhood is 16.41% whereas it is 7.59% in
Montgomery County. Clearly, this is the kind of distress that Choice Neighborhoods was designed to
The Choice Neighborhoods Planning Process
The CNI Planning Process is a two-year effort leading to the creation of a Transformation Plan. The
process includes extensive resident and community engagement which MHA will implement through a
series of frequent planning meetings and charettes. Continuing community outreach is essential to
success. A vigorous household level resident needs assessment will be conducted and will involve face-
to-face interviews, input from provider organizations and analysis of other data sources. Assets and needs in the community will be identified and documented. Project staff, partners and consultants will lead the community through a visioning process to develop a shared vision and shared goals that are measurable and achievable. And in order to demonstrate each Planning Grant city’s commitment to the community, at least one neighborhood “doing while planning” project (Early Action Activity) is to be implemented. The strongest doing while planning project fosters community engagement, responds to community needs and enhances the neighborhood.