Community Development Block Grant
Huntsville, AL - Mayor Loretta Spencer
Meadow Hills Neighborhood
Since 1992, Meadow Hills, an impoverished neighborhood of approximately 400 single family housing units, has been the focus of the City of Huntsville's investment of its CDBG funds. The revitalization of Meadow Hills has been a $10 million effort and the product of a partnership of local government, community and business interests.
The heart of the revitalization effort is the conversion of 150 blighted single family rental units into completely refurbished single family owner-occupied housing. The City also has provided construction materials to the World Changer Organization for use in an exterior housing repair program. Through this effort, approximately 25 elderly homeowners have been provided with new roofs, siding and other renovations. Among other features of the revitalization are a park with a walking trail, an attractive marker for the neighborhood entrance, landscaping, and covers for open drainage ditches.
Coupled with the housing and infrastructure initiatives are public service activities provided by Meadow Hills Initiative, Inc., a neighborhood organization. Included are a summer youth employment program, tutorial programs, adult and youth computer training programs, a summer nutrition program, and free home maintenance seminars.
Five local banks allocated $4 million in loans for acquisition of the Meadow Hills property. CDBG funds are being used in a variety of ways for revitalization: A combined CDBG and HOME allocation of $4 million is being used for rehabilitation of the property. The balance of the CDBG investment has gone into infrastructure improvements in the area, the work of the Meadow Hills Initiative, the relocation of residents from the blighted rental units into the improved housing under provisions of the Uniform Relocation Act, and several other services.
Huntsville officials are proud of the commitment made by five local banks to create a special "lending pool" for use by potential Meadow Hills home buyers. Using non-traditional loan qualification criteria, the pool makes money available to assist in down payments and makes it possible for an average family to pay only an average of $30 more per month for a mortgage - including taxes and insurance - than for rent.
Since June 1997, 40 of the units which have undergone conversion have been sold to lower-income families or acquired by them through lease-purchase agreements. The first phase of the Meadow Hills project focused on the acquisition and rehabilitation of the units by the developer. The second phase introduces an aggressive marketing campaign by the developer to sell those units. Helping this campaign is the fact that the appearance of the neighborhood has improved dramatically, that crime there is down by about 45 percent, and that structured activities have replaced walking the streets for many area youth.
Contact: Richard G. Galloway, Division Manager, Community Development, (256) 532-1700
The United States Conference of Mayors
J. Thomas Cochran, Executive Director
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