Saturday, December 22, 2012

TOP STORY >> Grand opening for subdivision

Leader staff writer

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Wednesday in Jacksonville to mark the completion of The Meadows subdivision, a housing project with 55 single-family rental homes.

The subdivision is near Cloverdale Road off Hwy. 161.

The $9.8 million project was completed in five months after a groundbreaking in July.

One of the new tenants is Shuntia Woods, a single mom with three boys who moved from Little Rock. She works at Arkansas Children’s Hospital as an operating-room medical assistant.

“It is just beautiful, a blessing to start a new year and a new house,” Woods said.

Mayor Gary Fletcher said just as a ribbon in sports signifies the finish line, Wednesday’s ceremony is the beginning of something bigger — the building of lives.

“I’m excited that lives are going to change,” Fletcher said.

Jacksonville Housing Authority chairman Mike Wilkinson said, “This is a fulfillment of a vision. Tax-credit public housing is something we wanted to try.”

Alice Rufus, the Little Rock Department of Housing and Urban Development field office director, said, “I’m grateful public housing has changed its face.”

She said people making low incomes don’t have to live in substandard housing. Public housing is no longer three, four, or five-story buildings.

“People can be proud of where the live. They are not living in a project but a community,” Rufus said.

Monthly rent for the 55 homes is between $307 and $960. Thirty of the homes have project-based vouchers for rental assistance, 11 have tax credits for higher incomes and 14 are at market rate.

Eight of the 55 homes are four-bedroom, while the rest are three-bedroom. Four homes were designed for handicapped accessibility. All houses have single step entrances.

The homes average 1,300 square feet. They have attached two-car garages, two bathrooms and a back patio.

The houses are carpeted except for the kitchens and bathrooms, which have vinyl floors.

The kitchens have a full sets of appliances. Each room has a ceiling fan.

To get the subdivision started, First Arkansas Bank president Larry Wilson provided a pre-development loan so the authority could purchase land for the houses in the Meadows subdivision.

The authority received an award of affordable housing tax credits, HOME funds and community development block grant funds from the Arkansas Housing Development Financing Authority and a permanent loan from mortgage lender Prudential Huntoon Paige, a national company.

The development was also made possible by Alliant Capital Group, an equity partner that purchased the affordable housing tax credits.

SE Clark and Associates, Inc. was the developer. Q. Steve Ficklin and Associates was the consultant and Guest Reddick Architects was the designer.

The PDC Corporation, a private real estate and management firm, oversees the development.

Individuals interested in one of the new homes can call PDC at 666-9629.