A $500,000 state grant will allow McMinnville Housing Authority to jumpstart a project to construct new duplexes in the area of Nashville Highway and Spring Valley Road.
Initial plans are to build four duplexes, eight total units, in Newtown. McMinnville Housing Authority executive director Patricia Basham says this type of housing is badly needed with right at 100 people currently on the waiting list for affordable housing.
“Our tentative plans are to build eight, one-bedroom affordable housing units for Warren County residents age 65 and older,” said Basham. “We plan to include a Veterans Preference for these units. This funding will help us achieve our No. 1 priority, to provide urgently needed affordable housing for our seniors.”
The $500,000 grant comes from the Tennessee Housing Development Agency and was awarded to Warren County Development Corporation, a 501(c)3 created and solely owned by McMinnville Housing Authority. Basham said the grant was highly competitive with four agencies receiving funding out of 17 applicants.
The project will be done in phases. The area near Spring Valley Road is zoned for 22 duplexes, 44 total units. Basham said funding for the entire project is not available with the cost about $150,000 per unit, or $300,000 per duplex.
The project has experienced controversy. Nearby residents have protested the development and even stood in the area waving picket signs.
Basham says their apprehension is unfounded.
“These will be one-bedroom units for elderly residents. What are they afraid of?” she asked. “These are going to be just like our units at Griswold Terrace. Very nice. None of us here would object to living next to one of them. We’re going to do everything we can to build them nice and maintain them.”
As for a ballpark estimate on when construction may begin, Basham doesn’t have a firm date. She said the $500,000 grant must be used in three years, by June 30, 2021. She hopes to find other grants before that time to use along with other funds.
“There are no federal HUD dollars coming down at all right now,” said Basham.
Being a 501(c)3 organization, Warren County Development Corporation accepts donations, which are tax-deductible.
“It’s hard to think of much more of an essential service than housing,” said Basham.