Of the $20 million from the Arkansas Development Finance Authority, $2 million is going to North Little Rock. That is the largest amount any city in the state received. Funding for this Neighborhood Stabilization Program comes from stimulus money.
Every day, buses drop kids off at 8th and Parker in North Little Rock and they have to walk past foreclosed and abandoned homes. Mayor Patrick Hays was born in the neighborhood and says it's time to revitalize it, making it a safe place once again.
Mayor Hays recalls, "It was a good solid neighborhood. Front porches were used; swings were out there and folks knew each other. That's what we hope to see coming back."
The city received funding through ADFA (Arkansas Development Finance Authority) for the NSP (Neighborhood Stabilization Program). They've selected 13 city-owned properties and land off Parker to begin construction.
Mayor Hays explains, "These funds are given to the community as zero interest loans. These homeowners will all be low to moderate income. They'll have an opportunity after qualifying to obtain mortgages."
The money generated from renting and selling homes will go into a revolving fund. When they sell, the money will be used to build more.
Contractor Glenn Camp points out, "I have done about 4 homes so far and we have 7 more we're going to work on." Camp is renovating homes two blocks from the city's property. He says, "It is an asset to the city because it is getting more people to move into the downtown area. It's going to bring up the value of the houses we're doing repairs on as opposed to the run-down houses that were here."
Mayor Hays says this is the beginning of a bright future for the whole city. "We go from the bottom to the top, and we feel like we can improve every part of the 55-and-a-half square miles involved in the city of North Little Rock. Some are more challenging; there is no doubt about that."
Thursday Senator Tracy Steele announced DHS awarded a $20,000 grant to Argenta for its housing education program.
Groundbreaking is slated for spring of 2010. If you want more information, contact Argent Community Development Corporation of North Little Rock.
Argent Community Development Corporation
401 Main Street, Suite 200
North Little Rock, AR 72114
Phone: (501) 374-0622