KCDC begins next step in multi-million dollar mixed-income housing project

KCDC begins next step in multi-million dollar mixed-income housing project

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) – Knoxville’s Community Development Corporation (KCDC) will begin work on the second phase of a multi-million dollar project aimed at transforming a historic neighborhood and bringing more affordable housing into the area.

Knoxville City Council approved $4.2 million to go towards Phase 2 of the Western Heights Transformation project. It’s the second installation of $26.5 million committed by the city for the project.

Knoxville, along with Knox County and the rest of East Tennessee, is growing. Knox County was ranked No. 2 by 2023 census data measuring growth, with the county breaking the half-million population threshold last year. With that influx of people on the way, the City of Knoxville is working on the more than $20 million revitalization project city representatives hope will allow more people to be successful in the Scruffy City.

Previous Coverage: Knox County second-fastest growing Tennessee county, census data shows

The Western Heights neighborhood is just under two miles from downtown Knoxville, representing prime real estate for people who need jobs and access to amenities. However, there’s been a historic barrier to entry for those interested in moving into the area, according to the city.

“Disinvestment, physical barriers, residential and commercial vacancies, and concentrated poverty have kept the neighborhood from realizing its potential,” the city’s website reads, with planners hoping to address those issues.

The project will bring more than 400 units of mixed-income housing and refresh an existing 240.

KCDC is leading the project, working with several other organizations to bring housing and more to the area. The plan is broken into three categories: the neighborhood, housing and people, with smaller-scale projects divided by each goal working together to improve the area.

The plan is broken into three categories: the neighborhood, housing and people, with…
The plan is broken into three categories: the neighborhood, housing and people, with smaller-scale projects divided by each goal working together to improve the area.(City of Knoxville)
“Housing can be a platform for self-sufficiency for families to grow and thrive but without the other resources, we would’ve missed that mark so that’s where the other partners come in,” the corporation’s Executive Director and CEO, Ben Bentley, said.

For more-than-50-year residents like Aaron Dickey, it’s an important step forward.

“As a kid I had so much fun growing up out here,” Dickey said. “The people that were around here making all this ruckus and stuff, they just made it bad for the rest of us.”

Part of the holistic plan put in place by the city is working with residents to provide a path to jobs, food security and education. The Knoxville-Knox County Community Action Committee is heading up that part of the project.

Copyright 2024 WVLT. All rights reserved.

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