Nashville Mayor Megan Barry, Councilman Brett Withers, and MDHA Executive Director Jim Harbison joined U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Region IV Administrator Denise Cleveland-Leggett and other local leaders at a groundbreaking ceremony for a new development in East Nashville.
Kirkpatrick Park, located at 620 South Ninth St., will be the home to 94 townhome-like apartments.
It will be the second residential construction for Envision Cayce and the first mixed-income development in Nashville.
“Today we are breaking ground on something that reflects the strength of diversity,” said MDHA Executive Director Jim Harbison.
The development is a rarity in America, designed for citizens with a variety of incomes from low, to moderate, to high.
“For me it’s personal and I believe in it, and I ask all of Nashville to support it,” said Harbison.
Harbison said that the development has been in the works for a number of years, and would not be possible without the cooperation of Metro Parks as well as city, state, and national officials.
In attendance was Denise Cleveland-Leggett who serves as HUD’s Region IV Regional Administrator.
As the Regional Administrator, she leads HUD’s Southeast operation in the states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Cleveland-Leggett delivered greetings on behalf of HUD Secretary Ben Carson who was unable to make the ceremony due to flight trouble.
“I’m so happy to be here in Nashville,” said Cleve-land-Leggett. “Secretary Carson wanted to be here, and he is very much in tune with all wonderful things going on here.”
“The secretary believes in mixed income communities and self-sufficiency and this type of neighborhood will promote that.”
Cleveland-Leggett said that that mixed income neighborhoods help to change the trajectory of people.
“I’ve seen it change the trajectory of children,” she said. “This is a step in the right direction, and I believe with the continued partnership, this will be just the beginning.”
Mayor Barry said that she believes Kirkpatrick Park is the first piece of the housing puzzle that needs to be put together in Nashville.
“We know that Nashvillians need housing, and we have to be intentional by making sure there are lots of options for everyone across our great city.”
Barry also discussed the problem is NIMBY-ism, or Not In My Back Yard. “We need more YIMBY-ism [Yes In My Back Yard]. We need more people to step up and say this is exactly what I want in my back yard. This is going to be a perfect example with Kirkpatrick Park and Envision Cayce of what’s possible.”
Barry said that the development would not have been possible without a $500,000 investment from HUD and took the opportunity to lobby the office for continued funding for opportunities like Kirkpatrick Park.
Councilman Brett Withers, whose district the development is located in, said: “It is like a party today. The metro council has been working on setting the stage for something like this for a long time.”
With input from local residents, the design of the project will blend in with the neighborhood and as Whithers said: “look like East Nashville.”
“It is updated, but it has people of all different backgrounds, income groups all blended together. That’s the East Nashville that all of us who moved here, moved here for,” said Withers. “We wanted to be part of an integrated and mixed community and I’m really excited that this project will be a way of preserving that.”
The development is part of the second phase of the Envision Cayce project, designed to improve the James A. Cayce Homes in East Nashville.