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State awards Kingsport $2.15 million for public housing projects

Matthew Lane • Sep 10, 2018 at 7:30 PM

KINGSPORT — Public housing in the Model City got a more than $2 million shot in the arm on Monday.

Officials with the Tennessee Housing Development Agency paid the city a short visit on Monday to present the Kingsport Housing and Redevelopment Authority with three ceremonial checks. The checks were in the following amounts:

- A nearly $750,000 grant from the National Housing Trust Fund for the rehabilitation of an 18-unit apartment building at the corner of Charlemont and Broad.

- A $500,000 grant from the Tennessee Housing Trust Fund to assist in the rehabilitation of the 76-unit Dogwood Terrace Apartments.

- A second grant from the NHTF in the amount of $900,000 to help with the Dogwood Terrace overhaul.

“To have a strong partner like the KHRA in this area supporting your residents, caring about your community, ... this is such a strategic advantage for us to be able to place money in these projects,” said Katie Moore, the East Tennessee liaison with the THDA. “We’re just thrilled to be a part of what the KHRA is doing.”

COMPLETE OVERHAUL

This funding and rehabilitation work is just one part of an overall project the KHRA kicked off about six years ago — the demolition and redevelopment of Lee Apartments and the renovation of the remainder of the KHRA properties, including Cloud Apartments, Dogwood Terrace, Holly Hills and Tiffany Court.

The entire project is estimated to cost $51 million.

In May, the KHRA held a goodbye event at Lee, where dozens of former residents came out to pay one last visit to the nearly 80-year-old apartments.

Maria Catron, deputy director of the KHRA, said on Monday the demolition work should begin within the next couple of weeks. Crews have been on site, permits have been approved and a meeting was held last week with city officials to make sure everything is on track.

Once complete, the 128-unit Lee Apartment site will be home to at least 50 townhouses and duplexes.

As for the remaining public housing facilities, these will receive infrastructure improvements, new plumbing and electrical and interior upgrades, such as new flooring, bathrooms, paint and interior surfaces.

This work is expected to begin in the next couple of months, Catron said.

In addition to the grants announced on Monday, the KHRA is also using previously awarded grant money for the overall project — a $500,000 THTF grant and a $300,000 grant from the Tennessee Department of Mental Health of Substance Abuse Services.

When all is said and done, more than 400 units will have been renovated under this project, impacting the lives of at least 1,000 residents.

“Going through the HOPE VI process gave us institutional depth and laid the groundwork ... to make this process flow smoothly,” said Terry Cunningham, executive director of the KHRA. “The opportunity to get these grants is making the project work, ... getting the housing authority in good shape for the next 20 to 25 years.”

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