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Sue Guinn Legg

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Johnson City Housing Authority renovations under way

June 27th, 2013 9:50 pm by Sue Guinn Legg

Johnson City Housing Authority renovations under way

Johnson City Housing Authority had an open house Thursday at 132 Dyer Street a two-bedroom apartment in Memorial Park housing development that recently received a $20,000 interior and exterior renovation. (Tony Duncan/Johnson City Press)


The Johnson City Housing Authority has launched of a comprehensive makeover of its more 750 public housing apartment units planned to continue over the next 15 years.


On Thursday, the authority hosted a open house at the first of the units to undergo an estimated $20,000 in interior and exterior updates being put in place to enhance both the appearance and energy efficiency of its properties.


Cost-saving improvements to the one-bedroom apartment in the Memorial Park development on Dyer Street include a new high-efficiency heat pump, a new 200-amp electrical box and wiring, new exterior siding with an underlying layer of inch-thick insulation board, new LED lighting, new Energy Star-rated exterior doors and new appliances, including an Energy Star-rated refrigerator, a self-cleaning oven, a garbage disposal and a dishwasher.


The apartment also received a remodeled bath and kitchen with new fixtures, countertops and HUD-approved Severe Use cabinets, new interior doors, laminate wood and tile flooring and a new coat of paint.


“We’re happy with it,” JCHA Executive Director Richard McClain said. “This is first open house the housing authority has had in probably 50 years or more and it’s a good opportunity for people to see where public housing is and where it’s going.”


The Housing Authority’s goal is to remodel or replace all of its existing 756 public units and to expand its properties through a combination of renovation and construction projects that will continue over many years, McClain said


While a remodeled duplex at 132 Dyer St. was the first to be completed, similar renovations are under way at two units located just around the corner at 801 and 803 Bert Street and at a fourth unit in the Lake Terrace development.


According to McClain, the renovations are being funded through a HUD Capital Improvement grant and will continue as tenants move out and units becomes vacant.


New construction projects are also under way in the housing authority’s Pinecrest development off Plymouth Road, where a four-unit building that was destroyed by fire last winter is being replaced by two new duplex buildings, and on the 400 block of Dyer Street, where the housing authority has purchased a half-acre tract for construction of six single-bedroom Section Eight rental units. 


McClain said the Pinecrest project is being funded with assistance from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Cincinnati, which is also providing grant support for the Washington County Rebuild project for flood victims in the Dry Creek community.


A separate HUD grant is being sought for construction of the Section 8 units on Dyer Street, for which plans have been submitted and the approval needed to put the project out for bid is expected in the next few weeks.


“These are the first new units the housing authority has built since the 1980s, and they’re the first Section 8 units we’ve ever had,” McClain said.


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