The first shovelful of dirt was overturned during a groundbreaking ceremony for Smith Terrace on Wednesday near Newtown.
McMinnville Housing Authority executive director Patricia Basham was all smiles as she handed out shovels and looked around the site.
“These will be beautiful units, almost identical to the ones at Griswold Terrace,” said Basham.
Basham sees the development as not only aesthetically pleasing but economically attractive.
“The contract for construction was awarded to Tri-State Development & Insulation Company of McMinnville and several local subcontractors are scheduled to work on this construction project which will infuse a lot of this money in McMinnville and Warren County.”
Smith Terrace is a development for affordable elderly homes located near the corner of New Nashville Highway and Spring Valley Road.
“At this time we’re building eight, one-bedroom duplexes and there will be a small office and community building,” said Basham.
Smith Terrace is named in honor of Charles L. Smith, a World War II veteran and commissioner of the McMinnville Housing Authority board from its inception in 1958 until he retired in 2016. Smith served 58 years without pay as commissioner.
“This is a special day,” Smith said. “These units will be good for the community and they’ll provide people with a good place to live.”
McMinnville Housing Authority created the Warren County Development Corpora-tion (WCDC) in 2016 as a way to compete for funding. The WCDC received a grant from the Tennessee Housing Development Agency’s Tennessee Housing Trust for $500,000 in the spring of 2018. That money will be spent on the Smith Terrace development.
“Through the years the government has created new grants and tax credits to build affordable housing, but the Housing Authority was often not eligible to receive that funding,” said Basham. “HUD recommended we create a nonprofit to be able to receive other grants so the McMinnville Housing Authority created the WCDC.”
“These units are not public housing and will have no federal rent subsidy,” Basham explained.
Wednesday’s groundbreaking marked the beginning of phase one of the construction project.
“We anticipate building additional units as funds become available but that won’t occur until we can find the money,” said Basham.
Work on Smith Terrace is scheduled to start immediately and is due to be complete in June of 2021.
“A public announcement will be made when applications can be submitted for these units,” Basham stated. “We will start taking applications approximately 90 days before the units are completed. No applications can be taken until after the public announcement.”