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Atchison Village, Richmond, California facts for kids

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Atchison Village Defense Housing Project, Cal. 4171-x
Atchison Village (Richmond, CA).jpg
Location Roughly bounded by MacDonald Ave, Ohio St, First St, and Garrard Blvd, Richmond, California
Area 30.2 acres (12.2 ha)
Architect John Carl Warnecke; Andrew T. Hass
Architectural style Mid-twentieth century
NRHP reference No. 03000473
Added to NRHP May 30, 2003

Atchison Village is a community in Richmond, California which was originally built as housing for defense workers from the Kaiser Shipyards. It lies at an elevation of 13 feet (4 m). Constructed by the Richmond Housing Authority in 1941 as Richmond's first public defense housing project, it is the only project funded by the Lanham Community Facilities Act that still exists in Richmond and one of the few in the nation not destroyed after the war. It is one of 20 public housing projects built in Richmond before and during World War II. The village was sold by the government to its residents for $1.5 million in 1956, remaining a mutual housing cooperative to this day under the name of the Atchison Village Mutual Homes Corporation.

Currently, the village is valued at approximately $17 million as of January 2007. It is covered under Proposition 13 as a single unsold parcel, thus limiting tax increases to 2% plus individual memberships sold.

Description

Atchison Village includes 450 apartments of five styles in 97 one-story buildings and 65 two-story buildings. Every unit has ground level access both front and back and fenceable backyards. Each unit has a dedicated parking space and there is ample on-street parking near each unit on the public streets. There is free wireless at 2.5 Mbyte/s from a Meraki system of 10 nodes.

As of May 2012, units cost from $30,000 to $70,000. They are relatively unaffected by the housing bubble or foreclosures, since share certificates cannot be liened, and the low prices may be due to the fact that title to the property is not transferred, but only the real property interest in it, making it difficult to take out a loan to buy a Right to Perpetual Use. However, the Atchison Village Credit Union may lend a significant sum against the purchase if the buyer has a co-signer with real property in California.

A maintenance fee, currently averaging ~$300 monthly, covers taxes, insurance, reserve funding, structural maintenance, water and sorted waste collection from curbside individual rolling plastic containers.

The grounds are landscaped, including a large park and separate soccer and baseball fields with bleachers. There is also a small children's playground, completely upgraded with modern Big Toys and soft ground. All streets have sidewalks and street lighting and are patrolled by the Richmond Police Department. There is a large laundromat and small supermarket adjacent, at First Avenue and MacDonald.

Point Richmond is within walking distance and has two small supermarkets, a post office, bank, public warm pool, fire station and library. The entire neighborhood is on the National Register of Historic Places and is part of the Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park.

The Atchison Village housing project is an example of the local-federal collaboration that provided much-needed housing and domestic support for World War II defense workers and their families. The modest, wood-frame buildings clearly reflect the constraints of time, money and materials placed on publicly funded housing construction during the period, but though simple in design, they have full-dimension clear fir framing and heavy interior plaster. Water mains, electric panels and all roofs have been recently upgraded at a cost of more than three million dollars. Reserves for such replacements are replenished through a dedicated portion of the monthly assessments, to avoid the sometimes catastrophic assessments other condominium associations may levy when they ignore the need for maintenance of large structural elements. Currently under way is a complete rebuild of the sewer system.

Inhabitants

Just prior to and during the war, the Lanham Community Facilities Act of 1940 provided $150 million to the Federal Works Administration. It built approximately 625,000 units of housing in conjunction with local authorities nationwide. These were highly sought after and company managers were the most likely to be able to procure housing in Atchison Village.

Because many of the original residents stayed on, there are many vacancies due to normal attrition from aging. It's a great chance to "age in place." Handicap ramps are allowed, and a majority of units are single story. The auditorium and public restroom is handicap accessible.

The population of Atchison Village while somewhat diverse over the past couple of decades is increasingly changing through gentrification, with a decreasing Latino, Asian and African American and GLBT population. White and notably middle-age to elderly White members now make up an estimated 65-70% of Atchison Village membership.

Transit

Atchison Village is served by the AC Transit 72M bus line, which runs east from Atchison Village up Macdonald Avenue to San Pablo Avenue and then south along San Pablo Avenue to downtown Oakland. A recent addition is the Circular Shuttle, a free service of the City of Richmond, which runs on MacDonald Avenue, and as far north as Doctor's Hospital.

There are connections in Point Richmond for buses to Marin and points north and south as well as the 72M stops at the combined Richmond BART and train station to Davis, Sacramento and beyond. Freeway access E+W Interstate 580 is excellent down one mile of parkway.

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