HUNTSVILLE – The Mill Creek Project designed to rehabilitate the neighborhood off Seminole Drive and west behind the Lowe Mill entertainment campus and ends north of Governors Drive is gaining steam.
At Thursday’s regular meeting of the Huntsville City Council, Mayor Tommy Battle was authorized to enter into an agreement between the city, the Huntsville Housing Authority and McCormack Baron Salazar, for the support of the Mill Creek Choice Neighborhood Initiative Implementation grant application.
“It’s a memorandum of understanding, or MOU,” Shane Davis, director of Urban and Economic Development, told the council. “It’s not a contract.”
The Mill Creek Project will be done over five phases. Davis assured the council money would not be pulled from other planned projects.
“This administration has been planning for this, and remember this is an eight-year build out,” he said. “So our investment is not coming in 24 months and something in the capital plan is gonna take a hit because of this project.
“Now that we have a plan, we’re starting to do take off estimates and we will have that in probably the next 45 or 60 days.”
The builders, McCormack Baron Salazar and city administrators have opened talks regarding the five phases.
“The MOU is just another step in the process of getting toward the Development Agreement, which will probably be in November,” said Council President David Little.
The Choice Neighborhoods program leverages significant public and private dollars to support locally driven strategies that address struggling neighborhoods with distressed public or HUD-assisted housing through a comprehensive approach to neighborhood transformation.
Local leaders, residents, and stakeholders, such as public housing authorities, cities, schools, police, business owners, nonprofits, and private developers, come together to create and implement a plan that revitalizes distressed HUD housing and addresses the challenges in the surrounding neighborhood.
The program helps communities transform neighborhoods by revitalizing severely distressed public and/or assisted housing and catalyzing critical improvements in the neighborhood, including vacant property, housing, businesses, services and schools.
Choice Neighborhoods is focused on three core goals:
- Housing: Replace distressed public and assisted housing with high-quality mixed-income housing that is well-managed and responsive to the needs of the surrounding neighborhood;
- People: Improve outcomes of households living in the target housing related to employment and income, health, and children’s education; and
- Neighborhood: Create the conditions necessary for public and private reinvestment in distressed neighborhoods to offer the kinds of amenities and assets, including safety, good schools, and commercial activity, that are important to families’ choices about their community.