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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

What's old is about to become new again in Riverview.

Riverview's redevelopment by the City of Kingsport is proceeding with plans to tear down the 67-year-old Riverview Apartments, and replace them with around 32 new homes on the site. The apartments were built at the end of the Great Depression, just prior to World War II.

The 12 million dollars for the project is coming from the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Agency, in the form of a HOPE VI grant. HOPE stands for Homeownership Opportunities for People Everywhere, and the grant for Kingsport can be viewed by any interested individual.

The HOPE program has funded the same kind of redevelopment in other communities around Tennessee. Knoxville used its HOPE grant to demolish the College Hills Apartments near Knoxville College and put in 40 single-family houses. That city also tore down part of the Austin Homes near Summit Hill Drive.. an empty field stands there now. In Chattanooga, HOPE funds tore down the Alton Park Projects, and new single-family homes there are in the finishing staqes. Public application files show projects demolishion plans have been applied for in Nashville, Memphis, Atlanta, Charlotte and Birmingham, Alabama. Cities have to go through a lengthy qualification process to get the grants.

Police in Knoxvile and Chattanooga tell this reporter, the redevelopment in their cities has cut down on the crime rate considerably. They also say, residents have been so proud of their new neighborhoods, that they report any suspicious activity they see. Apparently the drug dealers, thieves, robbers and law breakers that once roamed those neighorhoods, have now been forced to move and conduct business elsewhere.

As with the other cities, residents who live in the Riverview Apartments are being given first chance to apply for the new two, three and four bedroom homes, either for rent, or to own, and they'll be helped with low-interest loans and home ownership opportunities, and seniors are at the top of the list. Kingsport banks and lending institutions are already being educated about the program, and what to expect. During the rebuilding, all residents in the Riverview Apartments who live there now, will be given the chance to relocate to other public housing, be given Section 8 vouchers, or will be allowed to rent homes or apartments, as residents in Chattanooga and Knoxville were given. Residents in those cities were very happy with the program, and report few home application problems.

The HOPE grant given to the Kingsport Housing and Redevelopment Authority mandates the project has to be completely done in four-and-a-half years from now, and the first phase which has already started, involves getting interested Riverview Apartments residents to sign up and go through the qualification process, much like any home purchase process would be. As reported, preference is being given to seniors, and in Kingsport, those seniors that don't part, may be given the option of moving to a new planned home for seniors in the old Washington Elementary School building.

On a personal note, it is hoped that every resident being relocated, will take the time to become familiar with the rental process, and in the case of buying a home, the home ownership program. It can be a time of excitement, instead of a time of dread. There are lots of things to consider, like income, credit worthinless, and the ability to make corrections to a credit report. Sometimes in a credit report, you'll see a bill still on there that you paid off years ago. In the case of slow payments, that will lower your credit score, and if you paid off that bill years ago, there's absolutely no reason for it to still be on your credit report. Each resident should go into the process with a positive attitude, and be sure and take God with you. With God, All Things Are Possible!

The new Riverview homes are valued at between $120,000 to $160,000 apiece, and according to property tax assessors in Knox County and Hamilton County, the redevelopments have raised the property value of every other home in the Knoxville and Chattanooga neighborhoods where the new homes have been built. It's no secret this will happen in Riverview also. Published reports say demolishion of the Riverview Apartments will probably start in October of next year. but not until all the residents have been relocated.