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Reddick opening raises standard of life for low-income seniors

Margaret Patton enjoys her new home at the newly-built FHA Reddick Senior Residence.
The grand opening is today at 1:30 p.m.
Kerri Bartlett

On Thursday at 1:30 p.m., a grand opening will be held for the new senior living facility, Reddick Senior Residence, 129 Strahl Street off Columbia Ave. across from the library in Franklin.
However, only a few weeks ago, about 48 residents like Margaret Patton, 67, began moving into their new apartment homes. The development for low-and moderate-income senior citizens has been in the works since 2012.
“I was counting down the days,” Patton said. “I feel like a kid in a candy store.” 
The facility is part of Franklin Housing Authority’s mission to provide low-income housing to Franklin residents. FHA operates about 297 public housing units in Franklin serving nearly 700 residents.
Patton, a Franklin resident of about 20 years and FHA resident of 14 years, followed the construction of the facility in anxious anticipation and even visited the site a few times under construction. 
“When I saw the elevator shaft installed, I knew that the building was well underway, and it would be soon. I was packed for months.”
The site marks the former location of the FHA Reddick Street public housing units.
Now Patton enjoys gazing at the fresh, new one bedroom, one bath apartment as part of the 48-unit 48,000 square foot three-story apartment facility with a gathering room equipped with a large flat-screened TV and spacious outdoor space. 
However, she says she is most excited about having a new kitchen, adding that the dark wood cabinets with their modern metal finishes are especially nice. 
“They are just beautiful,” she said.  
Patton worked in the hotel industry in Nashville before moving to Franklin and even worked at Cool Springs Galleria for a short while. However, when her cousin needed help taking care of the children, she gladly moved to Franklin to help the family. She has been living in Franklin ever since. 
“You have to show love and be there for your children,” she said. “You have to build a firm foundation.”
Now with her surrogate children grown, she feels content and comfortable as she enters “retirement” she says. 
“We are glad to see residents excited,” Derwin Jackson, executive director of Franklin Housing Authority said. “That’s what it’s all about, to increase the quality of life for those in desperate need of affordable housing.” 
The funding for the $8.5 million facility consisted of $1 million in Housing Trust Funds from the Tennessee Housing Development Agency, $500,000 from the Franklin Housing Authority and more than $6.6 million in private equity raised through the sale of federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits.
According to Jackson, a market study revealed the need for a senior facility in Franklin to house low-income senior citizens who might not have adequate income or retirement income. 
However, the Reddick facility is only part of FHA’s larger goal set into motion by Jackson.
A few years ago, Jackson began creating a Master Plan to redevelop the face of public housing in Franklin. Many of FHA’s units date back 40 to 50 years, so Jackson set out on a mission to create new dwellings that would vastly improve the quality of life for low to moderate income residents in Franklin.
Over the next approximately ten years as part of a comprehensive, multi-phase redevelopment program, Jackson plans to replace the current 297 FHA housing units with 308 new dwellings.
“This is a goal not only for seniors but for families,” Jackson said.
Jackson said that FHA does not only offer improved housing options but also provides programs that promote self-sufficiency, access to education and career training for residents.
“We don’t want to leave anyone behind,” Jackson said. 

Posted on: 11/14/2013


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