/These houses are worth saving’ Habitat for Humanity builds up Jackson’s historic Broadmoor neighborhood

These houses are worth saving’ Habitat for Humanity builds up Jackson’s historic Broadmoor neighborhood

This goal — rehabilitating houses, demolition, and new builds — can be seen as a boost to an historic neighborhood that once welcomed a booming generation of baby boomers into adulthood but is now less vibrant and more disorganized. Broadmoor’s roots can be traced back to the 153 acres of land that were set aside by Mississippi lawmakers in September 1948 for World War II veterans. The parcels were sold through lottery in September 1948. Many of the streets in the GI subdivision are named after World War II leaders, including Churchill, Manila, and Normandy. Habitat’s mission to preserve the structural integrity of the 1950s postwar boxes in the area for first-time homeowners is a key factor in revitalizing the neighborhood. Merrill Tenney McKewen, Habitat’s local chapter director, sees it as a sign of respect for the area and those who have returned from World War II. They are great houses. They’re well-built. McKewen states that “They’re solid, good-looking, and honest houses.” Initial talks of tearing down blighted homes quickly changed to include a “Why wouldn’t we?” rethink for properties that are suitable for rehabilitation. “These houses were built in the 40s and 50s and they are worth saving.” Broadmoor’s strong amenities make it worth fighting for: proximity to work,
Shopping centers, grocery stores and schools are all good options. Rehabbing is a cheaper option. Improvements such as adding half-baths and opening up living areas, new plumbing, and wiring can make older homes more attractive. “Once our focus was shifted to the neighborhood, we saw that there were many others trying to do the same. They became our stakeholders.” The initiative launched and dedicated its first two houses on Avalon June 27, drawing dozens of supporters, volunteers, and neighbors-to be, who represented the entire spectrum of Broadmoor’s past and present. They exchanged stories and memories, and shared their hopes. David Hederman, pastor of Grace City Church nearby, describes it as “just a huge blessing”
Neighborhood.” Gray Wiggers is a retired Goodwill Industries of Mississippi president/CEO. His father was a World War II combat vet who served in northern Africa. Wiggers rode his bicycle past these houses on Avalon as he was a child. This was his short route to Chastain school, which he had taken from Churchill. He says that the initiative is “extraordinary”. You accept the changes. … It is smart to be able diversify into rebuilding good shells. She is an accountant at Goodwill Industries of Mississippi and plans to purchase the Meadowridge home being renovated in the Women Build. It is still five weeks away from completion. She has put her sweat equity into building a home for her grandchild and her children by tearing down walls, assembling sheds and painting. A kitchen that opens up is a great option for renovations. It really breathed new life into the kitchen, and it was a great addition to our dining room. This allows you to interact with your family while you cook and they watch TV. They’re ready to move right now! They want to play in a safe place, have their own yard, and be able to enjoy it.” She attended the launch to show her support. “I’m now a part of the organization, so you definitely want be involved hands-on all the way around.” June 27 was dedicated by Richard McRae
Foundation and the Regions Foundation with closings for homeowner’s purchase
Applicants scheduled for the following day Broadmoor properties added with
This year’s rehab commitments include the Women Build, which is sponsored by women volunteers and donors in the tri-county; Catholic Build sponsored by a partnership with area Catholic churches; five rehabs that were funded by federal HOME funds from Jackson; and Bankers Build sponsored by a partnership between Jackson banks. Habitat will also build one to two homes each year.
McKewen said that the initiative was supported by corporate sponsors Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mississippi (sponsoring this fall’s first new build) and Nissan Canton. While other Habitat initiatives target neighborhoods every three to five year, Broadmoor’s initiative is unique in its scale. The project area extends from Northside Drive to Cedarhust Drive, and Manhattan Road west towards State Street. McKewen states that Habitat’s approach to a neighborhood is one that creates a ripple that makes everything better. “Everybody seems to be more interested in their property when they see what can be done in their neighborhood.”