Gee plans to construct senior housing in SW Cairo

A retired U.S. Army officer is looking to improve the quality of life for Cairo residents and is planning to construct a new apartment complex for citizens 55 years of age and older in southwest Cairo.
Sgt. Maj. Judson A. Gee Jr., (Ret) appeared before the Cairo Mayor and Council Monday night to discuss his plans for a new residential development.
In order to proceed with his plans for the senior adult housing, Gee had to obtain council approval to rezone property on Church Street S.W. from R1 to R3.
“I’m a firm believer that we all should give back to our community, and I am attempting to do so by investing in my hometown,” Gee said.
Cairo city manager Chris Addleton asked Gee if the residents of the neighborhood had objected to his plan.
“I’ve had some calls, but once I told them what I was doing they all endorsed the idea,” Gee said.
According to Gee, approximately 60 to 65 percent of the homes on the street are dilapidated and either need to be repaired or torn down.
“From a legal standpoint it’s technically not a good idea. You’re putting R3 in the middle of R1A, but what you’ve got is a very deteriorated neighborhood. This just may be what we need to do to get the neighborhood going again,” city attorney Thomas L. Lehman said.
To avoid spot zoning, Lehman suggested the council consider rezoning the whole block, rather than just the property owned by Gee.
“Legally, it comes off as bad to do what he is asking you to do, but given what you have to work with, it is a very practical solution,” Lehman said.
Councilman Ernest Cloud suggested delaying action on Gee’s rezoning request until the council could decide about rezoning the entire block but, after discussion, Councilman James H. (Jimmy) Douglas said a delay would hold up Gee’s project unnecessarily.
Douglas offered a motion to approve the rezoning of the Gee property and Councilman Jerry Cox seconded the motion with the council voting 4-0 to approve. Councilman Lannis Thornton abstained due to a conflict of interest.
Addleton and his staff will look into the possible rezoning of the neighboring properties.
The retired army officer is working with Charlie Hand of Hand Construction to be the builder of the project.
Gee retired in 2015 after 27 years of military service. He is currently employed as the Senior Enlisted Leader for the Muskogee County School District JROTC Programs, Columbus.
He is the son of Lizzie H. Gee and the late Judson A. Gee Sr.

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