KCDC meets halfway mark for better living in Five Points community

Published: May. 12, 2018 at 10:04 AM EDT
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An initiative to expand the downtown area and provide a better affordable living situation in East Knoxville is halfway completed.

It's all part of a four phase plan for the Five Points Community. Phase one revolved around providing housing for the elderly and disabled. Phase two was focused on families. The new apartment complex should hold about 84 units. Ben Bentley with the Knoxville Community Development Corporation told WVLT News, bettering East Knoxville housing goes hand-in-hand with better the community.

"There's a few other things that are going on here. Directly behind us is Cherokee Health, who is expanding services," Bentley pointed out. "We're excited to see what they're doing in the community. We feel that bolsters the health services to the people that live here and it's just going to make for a better quality of life overall. There's some other exciting things around this area beyond just what we're doing with the housing but we definitely believe the housing is spurring additional investment from outside the community."

Phase three will hold about 80 families. Folks have been rolling in to fill out

and interview because the upgrades are free for those who already live in the Five Points complexes.

The housing costs tenants 30% of their household income.

Bentley said improving housing for those that need it is going to help tenants in more ways than one.

"I'm just excited for the families that are going to move from that old to new, there's going to be a different living environment. There's also a lot of research about the built environment, how it plays into health outcomes both physical and emotional heath. We think there's a lot of benefits for the residents of new units beyond them looking much better," said Bentley.

The city is investing millions into this project - $800,000 annually for 10 years. An additional $1.55 million was committed in the city's 2018 budget and $3.2 million is planned for 2019. Bentley said those numbers also include Eastport Elementary School, which was built before phase one of the Five Points project.

"The city has done a great job at supporting the work we're doing here. They're doing it not just in Five Points, East Knoxville, but in a number of areas across the city. That investment is incredibly important," Bentley reiterated. "It's improving the linkages between these neighborhoods and downtown, allowing for more resources that live here. So without the city's report and partners, we wouldn't be able to make it happen."

Groundbreaking for phase three will begin at 10:00 a.m. Monday and is scheduled to be completed by summer of next year. The housing complex features 28 buildings and 80 units near Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue and McConnell Street.

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