Fort Payne community welcomes a new affordable housing development to the area
On a crisp January day, the community of Fort Payne joined 19 other counties in Alabama as home to high-quality housing that is affordable for its residents and provided through Community Action Partnership of North Alabama’s Housing Business Unit. Fort Payne is a small town of approximately 15,000 residents with a median family income of about $45,000 per year, nearly 20% below the state average and more than 32% below the national average.
Thanks to a partnership with the City of Fort Payne, led by Mayor Larry Chesser, citizens of DeKalb County, Alabama, now have a 56-unit multi-family development to call their own. During the property’s grand opening ceremony, Mayor Chesser commented, “It’s something we’ve needed in Fort Payne. We’re looking forward to the next one,” referring to discussions about a complementary development for seniors nearby.
Guests at the event included development partner Fred Bennett of The Bennett Group, Fort Payne Chamber of Commerce members, representatives from Regions Bank and architects McKean & Associates, property residents, and Partnership employees from the Children’s Services program. Also on hand to offer support was retired Partnership CEO Michael Tubbs, who was at the helm at the planning and construction phases of The Village at Hixon Pond.
The first time I saw this property it was a slope and a pond, and I didn’t think for the world we’d be able to put 56 two- and three-bedroom units up here. The thing I’ve noticed with the units the company has across the state is that they start out as apartments but end up as a home and that’s the difference. We’re not just creating community but creating a home for the people who live here.
-Michael Tubbs, retired Partnership CEO
Those who joined Mayor Chesser and Michael Tubbs as speakers at the Hixon Pond Grand Opening event included current Partnership CEO Tim Thrasher, development partner Fred Bennett, and Hixon Pond residents Bonita Eileen and April Jelks.
The Partnership’s housing portfolio includes affordable housing properties all across the state of Alabama plus developments in North and South Carolina totaling more than 1,700 units of single family, multi-family, and senior housing. Each development undergoes a rigorous, competitive application process with the Alabama Housing Finance Authority before being awarded. According to AHFA’s website, funds are limited and each project is prioritized using a system for determining which projects will receive HOME funds and Housing Credits.
Construction has begun for the 2017 AHFA-awarded property in St. Clair County (AL) with The Village at Rock Springs in Moody. Cullman County (AL) will become The Partnership’s next affordable housing site as the 2018 property awarded by AHFA once construction begins on The Village at Bridge Creek.