Sprucing Up Springbrook

Alcoa, Blount County (WVLT) - A Knoxville based property management company is looking to spruce up an Alcoa neighborhood with the purchase of more than 30 homes in need of some improvement.

But as WVLT Volunteer TV's Stephen McLamb finds, the increase in rent that comes with the renovations may be too much for some to pay.

Blue Ribbon Homes has purchased and is refurbishing some 31 houses in the Springbrook community of Alcoa. Many of these homes were built fifty or more years ago and are needing a facelift.

"The first home we did you could see a change in attitude from the residents in the community," says Rusty Kruciak, from Blue Ribbon Homes.

Once remodeled, they'll have new paint, carpet, even central heat and air.

"It makes the neighborhood look a lot better and it's good that they are doing that," Sallie Carter loves the new look but may not be around to see it. Her house is set to be refurbished. She's on a fixed income and feels the rent increases will just be too much. "People are going to be paying 750 instead of 525. That's going to hurt a lot of people. One of them is me."

Some homeowners in the area are cautiously optimistic saying there have been problems with renters in the past.

"Quite frankly, a lot of time don't take very good care of the property. I will keep my fingers crossed and say some prayers," says Linda Warner, Springbrook homeowner.

But with a new price tag, Warner believes it may be a positive change for the neighborhood. "Especially if you have a large deposit, you're more likely to stick around and take care of the property."

And so does Blue Ribbon.

"We see this neighborhood as a viable asset to Alcoa for years to come, so we felt like if we came in here and make some changes and offer affordable housing for the community that it was a plus for everyone," says Kruciak.

Kruciak says he will be working with the tenants with these rent increases on a case by case basis.