Senior citizens in the Greeneville, Tennessee area have been eager to call the brand new Barton Greene Apartments home. “I was lucky enough to be able to move into Barton Greene, back to my home town. The house I owned in Cleveland, TN was just too much to maintain after I became unable to work from my disability. It was terrifying to realize that I may be homeless after working for so many years and being so independent. I came to Greeneville several times to visit family and knew an apartment complex was being built. Ironically, it was being built in the backyard of the house we lived in when I was born. Moving to Barton Greene is the best thing I could have wished for. Now I have an affordable apartment, beautiful scenery and many friends and family to keep me company. All the amenities needed for a comfortable, independent lifestyle on a fixed income,” said resident Sandy Stoddard.
The senior housing facility was completed in March, 2014, and the development achieved 100% occupancy by November, 2014. It is easy to see why – nestled in the mountains of East Tennessee, the property offers handicap units, as well as a community room, on-site laundry facility, picnic tables and gazebo, community fitness center, business center and library, and 24 hour emergency maintenance, if needed. The views are beautiful and the facility is a safe and peaceful place many now call home.
USDA Rural Development provided a $550,000 loan guarantee to The Huntington National Bank of Columbus, Ohio, who was instrumental in working with The Woda Group of Westerville, Ohio in the development of the 50-unit senior housing facility in rural Greeneville, Tennessee. In September 2014, the Woda Group was recognized for their work in the affordable housing sector for Barton Greene Apartments by being nominated for the Tennessee’s Best Award for Remarkable Achievement—Rural. The Tennessee’s Best Awards were created by the Tennessee Housing Development Agency to honor outstanding individuals and organizations whose contributions on behalf of affordable housing inspires others to serve the state's housing needs.
The Guaranteed Rural Rental Housing Program was established to increase the supply of moderately-priced housing in rural areas; ensure that housing is affordable to low- and moderate-income rural residents, provide housing that is decent, safe, sanitary, and competitive in the market, and foster risk-sharing partnerships with public and private lenders. Under the program, the Agency will provide credit enhancements to encourage private and public lenders to make new loans for affordable rental properties that meet program standards.
In January 2014, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the expansion into Tennessee of the StrikeForce for Rural Growth and Opportunity strategy of partnering public resources with local expertise to grow rural economies. Fifty-three Tennessee counties, including Greene County, are designated as “StrikeForce” counties. This project is an excellent example of local, state and regional partnerships working together to improve lives in our rural communities.