10 year project begins to remake Walter P. Taylor Homes

10 year project begins to remake Walter P. Taylor Homes in Knoxville

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Walter P. Taylor Homes is located on 33 acres in the Five Points area of East Knoxville. Walter P. Taylor Homes is located on 33 acres in the Five Points area of East Knoxville.
Many people looked on as the buildings were demolished. Many people looked on as the buildings were demolished.

By STEPHANIE BEECKEN
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Demolition got underway Friday on 183 units at Walter P. Taylor Homes. The public housing project is being rebuilt as part of a master plan to upgrade deteriorating residential facilities in Knoxville.

Walter P. Taylor Homes is located on 33 acres in the Five Points area of East Knoxville. In all there are 230 family units in the complex.

The plan is to eventually tear down all the units and rebuild. Knoxville's Community Development Corp. operates the development.

KCDC believes the renovations will revitalize the entire community, but residents have mixed emotions.

Angelia Jackson has lived in the Walter P. Taylor complex for 21 years. She says watching the demolition is bitter sweet.

"It will be sad because we done been out here and seen the little kids grow up and everything, especially when you have neighbors and friends across the street. Now everybody will be gone," Jackson said.

Ngina Blair has lived at Walter P. Taylor Homes for 32 years. She says she hopes the change will be positive and make the community safe. "The shooting and the killing, it just needs to be better for our kids," she said.

One hundred five new units have already been built for seniors. KCDC plans to construct additional units for all ages.

KDCD CEO Alvin Nance says the new buildings could improve safety in the community. "When you have a product that you're proud of and you're proud of the community you live in, you'll end up as part of your neighborhood watch program. You watch out for your neighbor. You report things that shouldn't occur," Nance explained.

The goal is to replace the Walter P. Taylor units with one and two-family homes, similar to the units in the Mechanicsville Commons.

"We hope to achieve something similar to that," Nance said. "We think that we can achieve a greater community over here by blending the housing that blends in with the community as opposed to something that doesn't really connect with the community."

Nance says the new units will revitalize the neighborhood, hopefully increasing home ownership and business development and decreasing crime.

The entire project is expected to take 10 years and cost $80 million. Eight million dollars will come from the city. KCDC expects the majority to come from federal funding.

Units of the Dr. Lee L. Williams Senior Complex are also in line to be rebuilt. The work is phase one of an effort to demolish and rebuild all of the units on the two properties.

Similar work on 440 homes at the city's largest public housing complex, Western Heights, started a year ago.

All of the residents impacted by the demolition and construction project have been relocated to other facilities administered by KCDC or were given Section 8 vouchers.

The work at Walter P. Taylor Homes and Dr. Lee L. Williams Senior Complex is part of an effort by KCDC to revitalize Five Points, an area that suffers from deteriorating housing, high unemployment and high crime.

A comprehensive plan for Five Points that was released in 2000 showed nearly half the residential properties were either empty, abandoned or substandard.

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