Ground bro­ken for af­ford­able, sus­tain­able neigh­bor­hood

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NORTHWEST ARKANSAS - STACY RY­BURN

FAYET­TEVILLE — Mary Roper said she wants to down­size since re­tir­ing from work­ing for var­i­ous non­profit groups in the state. The Homes at Wil­low Bend might suit her just fine.

Wil­low Bend will fea­ture 77 homes on about 9 acres a few blocks from Walker Park in south Fayet­teville. Pri­mary de­vel­oper Part­ners for Bet­ter Hous­ing, a pri­vate non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tion, wants to cre­ate a neigh­bor­hood of mixed-in­come res­i­dents, sus­tain­able site de­sign and walk­a­bil­ity to nearby jobs and ameni­ties.

Plan­ning started in 2009 with the land pur­chase shortly af­ter with a Home De­pot Foun­da­tion Grant. The City Coun­cil in Oc­to­ber ap­proved a $ 1 mil­lion cost- share agree­ment to

build the neigh­bor­hood.

The project broke ground Tues­day.

Mayor Lioneld Jor­dan said the new neigh­bor­hood demon­strates a com­mit­ment to the city’s 2030 plan, namely in­fill de­vel­op­ment, walk­a­bil­ity, con­nec­tions to green net­works and low-im­pact site de­sign.

“Wil­low Bend will be an ex­am­ple of how to suc­cess­fully build sus­tain­able and at­tain­able hous­ing us­ing a model that can be du­pli­cated else­where in Fayet­teville and through all of North­west Arkansas,” he said.

Alder­woman Adella Gray of Ward 1, which in­cludes south Fayet­teville, said the de­vel­op­ment marks a turn­ing point in bring­ing af­ford­able hous­ing to the area.

“It is just some­thing that is so greatly needed in our city but also in lots of other cities,” she said. “I’m ex­cited for it to be kind of a show­case for cities where we need some low-in­come hous­ing.”

A third of the homes will be sold at mar­ket rate. An­other third of buy­ers mak­ing 81 to 100 per­cent of area me­dian in­come and the re­main­ing third who make 50 to 80 per­cent of area me­dian in­come will be el­i­gi­ble for sub­si­dized hous­ing through the non­profit group.

North­west Arkansas has a me­dian in­come of $58,700. Michael Ward, ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor of Part­ners for Bet­ter Hous­ing, es­ti­mated

home prices at $130,000 to $270,000 but said the ac­tual sale price will be lower for some res­i­dents.

Phi­lan­thropist Denise Gar­ner con­trib­uted to the project and said she and her hus­band wanted to pay for­ward the help they had re­ceived from oth­ers dur­ing their younger years.

“We want ev­ery­one to have ac­cess to the ben­e­fits that we’ve re­ceived,” she said. “We’re so lucky to be in this com­mu­nity. We do think it takes a vil­lage.”

For Roper, Wil­low Bend rep­re­sents the pos­si­bil­ity of mov­ing into a home in which she can stay for the

rest of her life. She’d love to live in the His­toric Dis­trict, but like many peo­ple, can’t af­ford it.

“I’m just look­ing at all my op­tions,” Roper said. “I’m me­thod­i­cally clean­ing out my house, pack­ing stuff up and get­ting rid of things so in the next two or three years, maybe more, I’d like to move to some­place like this.”

NWA Demo­crat-Gazette/ANDY SHUPE

Keaton Smith (left), board chair­man of Part­ners for Bet­ter Hous­ing, speaks Fri­day with phi­lan­thropist Denise Gar­ner dur­ing a ground­break­ing for the Wil­low Bend project on South Wash­ing­ton Av­enue in Fayet­teville. Non­profit Part­ners for Bet­ter Hous­ing started plan­ning the Homes at Wil­low Bend in 2009. The City Coun­cil in Oc­to­ber ap­proved a $1 mil­lion cost-share agree­ment to bring 77 af­ford­able homes to 9 acres east of the park be­tween Wash­ing­ton and Wood av­enues.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.