Murfreesboro City Councilman Ronnie Martin listens to Alli Montgomery of McCarty Holsaple McCarty talk about safety features that may be incorporated into the new Oakland Park property, including more windows and more street lights.
JASON M. REYNOLDS
Changes are coming to the Murfreesboro Housing Authority that will include the total redevelopment of Oakland Court neighborhood with double the number of units, but the process will not end there.
The Oakland Courts project calls for a phased demolition of the 76 duplex homes and the construction and reconstruction of 150 homes, said Charlie L. Teasley, chairman of the MHA Board of Directors. The duplexes sit on 20 acres between North Academy Street and Maney Avenue.
The project is being made possible by a new program by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Teasley said, that could lead to MHA eventually taking ownership of the properties it manages as HUD looks to exit the business of owning public housing.
MHA last week kicked off a public review process to create a master plan for the new Oakland Court property. MHA officials and consultants met with residents Wednesday and with members of the general public Thursday to show potential building, park and other design features and to gather input.
Mike Dugan, director of counseling at Greenhouse Ministries, was one participant at the open house Thursday. He said he attended because many MHA residents are served by Greenhouse.
“We desperately need more affordable housing here,” Dugan said.
Within the next few months, MHA will seek funding to allow it to redevelop Oakland Park, which would lead to the authority taking ownership, Teasley said.
Funding for the master plan and construction will be from secured loans and Low Income Housing Tax Credits issued by the Tennessee Housing Development Agency, the press release said
More public hearings will be held in April as building and architectural designs start to take shape. MHA’s other properties could eventually qualify for redevelopment, officials said.
McCarty Holsaple McCarty (MHM), an architectural and interior design firm, and Ragan-Smith Associates, a land-planning and civil engineering firm, are serving as consultants.
The Oakland Park property will be presented for rezoning at the Murfreesboro Planning Commission from duplex residential to a planned development concept perhaps in June after consultants finish gathering data around mid-May, said Gray Taylor, an associate with MHM. Phase One of redevelopment will start in March 2020 and end in 2021. Phase Two will start immediately then and last until 2023.
Representatives of the MHA spoke to council members at a Murfreesboro City Council workshop Wednesday. Councilwoman Madelyn Scales Harris asked them about the logistics of serving approximately 25 families who will be displaced between 12 to 18 months when their duplex apartments in Phase One are demolished.
Board members told her the residents will qualify to move into any vacant housing authority properties, while the remainder will move into private housing with the MHA paying the difference in rent.
While about 25 families will be affected in the first phase, about six vacant apartments also will be demolished, making for 31 total units being rebuilt in the phase, Teasley said.