West End Area Selected As Target For HUD Funds

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A map showing the primary HUD target area for West End.
A map showing the primary HUD target area for West End.

by Valerie Garner

The last targeted area for HUD funds in Hurt Park has wound down and it is now time to select another rehabilitation project for the $2.45 million allocated for fiscal year 2011-2012. The target areas were narrowed down to three – the Orange/Melrose corridor, Morningside and West End.

West End encompasses the area from the YMCA, 6th Street and Day Avenue north to Rorer Avenue. It includes the Jefferson Center and Cotton Mill apartments and stretches out to the West End market and Mt. View Recreation Center.

West End will have a mixture of housing and economic development focusing on job creation. Sixty percent of the funds are devoted to housing.

An interdepartmental team for process selection included the Police Department, Planning, Public Works, Economic Development and Parks and Recreation. They were asked what could be accomplished in each area – “where the money would be best spent,” said Frederick Gusler, Senior Planner.

West End was selected because of its proximity to other revitalized areas like Old Southwest, Vic Thomas Park, downtown and the greenway. The area has the best market activity, greatest synergy and partnerships and had the highest attendance at public meetings.

In addition, Freedom First Credit Union plans to open a micro branch in the Mt. View / Hurt Park area. They received $850,000 from the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund).

Gusler explained to Mayor Bowers that “market activity” is derived from “the cumulative number of building permits for 2010.” This included major projects like the transformation of the Cotton Mill into apartments, Fork in the City and Ed Walker’s purchase of property at 6th Street and Day Avenue. “This area has the most activity with both residential and commercial properties,” said Gusler.

In 2001 the city changed its method for dispersing the grants from a scattered approach to targeting one area at a time. Implementation will begin in 2013 for West End and will be a two to three year process.

Councilman Bill Bestpitch saw that the West End area “had more momentum” going for it than the Southeast by Design project, for example.

Both Mayor Bowers and Councilman Ray Ferris own property in the area. The council gave their unanimous consent to proceed with West End as the target area to receive funding.