Knoxville’s Community Development Corporation (KCDC) will host an open house for neighborhood, stakeholder and community members to review the Transforming Western plan for the Western Heights housing site and Beaumont area.
The open house will be held Wednesday, Jan. 19, from 6-7:30 p.m. at the Western Heights Boys & Girls Club gym located at 1417 W. Oldham Ave. On-street parking is available, and masks are required for attendees.
The Transforming Western plan is the result of months of meetings with residents, stakeholders and the community. The process will culminate in KCDC applying in February for a $40 million HUD Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grant to help fund the transformation of the neighborhood.
The plan addresses the renovation and replacement of residential structures and specific aspects mentioned during meetings, such as employment opportunities, transportation, safety, better access to health care and improved access to technology, specifically internet access.
“In a months-long process, KCDC and our planning partners have engaged with residents and stakeholders to address community needs around the three key areas of people, housing and neighborhood,” KCDC Executive Director and CEO Ben Bentley said. “We are proud to share a plan that benefits not only the residents of Western Heights and Beaumont but also the city of Knoxville.”
Established in 1939, Western Heights is KCDC’s largest affordable housing development at 440 units. The site is located just off Keith and Western avenues in Northwest Knoxville.
HUD’s Choice Neighborhoods program is designed to leverage significant public and private funds to support implementation of locally driven strategies to improve public housing through a comprehensive approach to neighborhood transformation. Additional philanthropic investment required by the grant and provided by individuals, companies and foundations would be used for site amenities such as parks, greenspaces, community spaces and social services.
The Transforming Western planning process began in February 2021 with insight from Western Heights residents followed by meetings with 17 stakeholder groups to gather input from the broader community on a variety of topics, such as economic development, education and supportive services.
KCDC’s Transforming Western planning partners include the City of Knoxville, Knoxville-Knox County Community Action Committee (CAC), BarberMcMurry Architects and Urban Design Associates.