Knoxville raises awareness for community development programs

Knoxville raises awareness to keep community development programs

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Officials held a ribbon cutting Monday morning for Dutch Valley View Apartments. Officials held a ribbon cutting Monday morning for Dutch Valley View Apartments.

By STEPHANIE BEECKEN
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Knoxville's Community Development Department is tasked with growing and revitalizing the city, but as federal funds dwindle the job is becoming harder to do.

Now the department is trying to drum up support through awareness.

At Sanders Pace Architecture, business has been booming so much that owner John Sanders had to move the firm to a bigger building.

It's an expansion Sanders says was made possible by the community development department.

"With the business expansion loan program, we applied it to the building which allowed not only us to grow but allowed six other businesses to come to West Jackson," Sanders said.

Community Development Director Becky Wade says helping businesses with expansion loans is only one program the department funds. The programs are paid for with federal funds.

"They are allocated to the city to focus on housing and neighborhood stabilization of jobs for low and middle income citizens and neighborhoods," Wade said.

The department provided the funding to update many buildings along Broadway and Central Street.

"Not only are jobs created in the actual work of improving the outside, but often they are able to expand. They even sometimes get more business because it's more attractive," Wade explained.

However, in the past two years the department's federal funding has dropped by $1.5 million. Programs may be cut.

John Sanders hopes the funding returns so the programs can continue to help the city. "It got a blighted building back onto the tax rolls, which was great. It kept and retained jobs here in Knoxville," he said.

This is Community Development Week in Knoxville. Wade hopes it will raise awareness about the programs so maybe more federal funding will return.

The first event on Monday was a ribbon cutting for Dutch Valley View Apartments on Red Valley Way. The community development department partially funded the project. The blighted property has been redeveloped into six units for affordable housing.

A full list of events is posted on the city's website.

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