UALR Seeks to Include Neighborhoods in Its Success

by Jamie Walden  on Monday, Nov. 30, 2009 12:00 am  

Anderson said that UALR had fostered the University Initiative, which last year gave birth to the University District Development Corp., a nonprofit that works with the Broadmoor Property Owners Association and the Fair Park Residents Association.

The UDDC's main function will be to buy houses and remodel and sell them to first time homebuyers.

The UDDC hopes to soon get a $200,000 grant from the HOME program, UDDC Director Ron Copeland said.

The HOME Investment Partnerships Program is an initiative of the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development that provides grants through states and localities to increase affordable housing. Such money is often channeled to nonprofits like UDDC to buy, build or rehabilitate properties with the intent to sell or rent.

The UDDC expects to either build or remodel six single-family units with that $200,000.

"Hopefully, it will not take 18 months and we can apply and get funding for more," Copeland said. "But we don't want to get ahead of ourselves. We don't have a track record since we're new. And so we want to be sure and be prudent about it."

However, the UDDC already has some funding through banking partnerships, which allowed the nonprofit to buy its first house. With the help of Arvest Bank of Fayetteville, the UDDC closed on a property at 1516 Harrison St. on Nov. 12.

The UDDC staff of three will manage the subcontracting process of all the projects, and bid out the plumbing, electrical, mechanical, carpentry, painting and roofing jobs.

Copeland added that all of the UDDC projects would focus on energy conservation by installing Energy Star appliances, insulation and efficient doors and windows.

But here's the kicker: First-time homebuyers with good credit can qualify for a $20,000 tax credit to buy a home that has been redeveloped by the UDDC. The only catch is that the buyer must stay in the home for 10 years. If he sells within that time, part of the tax credit is prorated for the remaining portion of the 10-year period.

"And if we can succeed in revitalizing [the University District]," Anderson said, "we're confident that those good effects will just continue to ripple throughout the rest of the city."



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