The Tennessee Housing Development Agency will announce a partnership with the City of Oak Ridge to support the implementation of THDA’s Hardest Hit Fund Blight Elimination Program, or BEP, on Monday.
The announcement will be made by THDA Executive Director Ralph Perrey at 1:30 p.m. Monday, July 11. The announcement will be made in the Oak Ridge Municipal Building Courtroom, which is located at 200 South Tulane Avenue in Oak Ridge.
The Hardest Hit Fund Blight Elimination Program assists with the removal of blighted properties in targeted areas within Tennessee, a media advisory said. THDA works in partnership with approved program partners to strategically target residential single-family properties for demolition, site improvement, and acceptable reuse, the advisory said.
The BEP’s purpose is to reduce foreclosures, promote neighborhood stabilization, and maintain property values through the demolition of vacant, abandoned, blighted residential structures, and subsequent greening/improvement of the remaining parcels within the targeted areas.
Besides Perrey, others expected to attend include Katie Moore, East Tennessee THDA representative; Mark Watson, Oak Ridge city manager; and Oak Ridge Mayor Warren Gooch and Oak Ridge City Council members.
The precise nature of the partnership wasn’t immediately available. But housing remains a top issue for many in Oak Ridge, including the maintenance and repairs of older so-called “legacy homes,” especially blighted houses, and the availability of homes for young professional families. There have been stepped-up efforts to improve housing in Oak Ridge during the past few years, including through the Oak Ridge Land Bank Corporation.
The Monday announcement comes about one month after THDA and Perrey announced a $500,000 state housing grant that Oak Ridge will use to renovate more than 60 homes. That HOME Program grant is from the THDA. It’s funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and administered in part by the THDA in Tennessee.
The city plans to use the HOME grant money to renovate 63 owner-occupied, single-family homes in the Manhattan District Overlay zone. Oak Ridge created the zone, which includes so-called “legacy homes,” mostly in the center of the city, to improve development in its oldest neighborhoods.
Oak Ridge has had a recent string of announced projects and funding that are expected to improve housing, retail, and public infrastructure, including the $500,000 state housing grant announced in June, a $2.9 million grant from the Tennessee Valley Authority for an Extreme Energy Makeover project for an unprecedented revitalization of legacy homes in Oak Ridge, the purchase and planned redevelopment of the former Oak Ridge Mall into Main Street Oak Ridge, and a state transportation grant of more than $900,000 that will be used to complete sidewalks along the south side of Oak Ridge Turnpike between Illinois Avenue and Fairbanks Road. That transportation grant follows an earlier $432,000 state grant for intersection improvements on Oak Ridge Turnpike at Tulane Avenue and Division Road.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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