A community development corporation in a blighted area north of downtown is partnering with the Indiana Department of Veterans Affairs to build homes there for military families.
The Mapleton-Fall Creek Development Corp. is helping launch the agency’s Homes for Good initiative by offering four vacant lots to veterans for construction of subsidized homes. The organization will tap federal community development block grant funding, dispersed by the city, to reduce the cost of each home by as much as $50,000.
The aim of the program is to assist military families while improving blighted neighborhoods. If the program is successful in Mapleton-Fall Creek, organizers hope to replicate it in other areas across Indiana.
“It’s consistent with what we do as a development corporation,” said Leigh Riley Evans, CEO of the Mapleton-Fall Creek Development Corp. “But this is the first time that we have targeted veterans.”
The four lots are in the 3100 block of North Broadway Street, one block west of North College Avenue, and in an area of Mapleton-Fall Creek that the community development corporation is targeting for redevelopment.
The organization has rehabbed or rebuilt 60 homes so far in an area extending from Fall Creek Parkway north to 32nd Street and from College west to New Jersey Street. It also persuaded the city to convert a stretch of Central Avenue, from 34th Street to Fall Creek Parkway, from one-way to two-way traffic, to help attract businesses.
A $20 million senior housing and retail project is the centerpiece of the redevelopment efforts. Riley Evans anticipates breaking ground this summer on the project, which would extend from Fall Creek Parkway north to 30th Street and from Ruckle Street west to Central Avenue.
Mapleton-Fall Creek is partnering with local affordable housing developer BWI Development & Management Inc. to build the project. The six-building project would include 158 units of affordable and market-rate housing, in addition to about 19,000 square feet of retail.
Meanwhile, the new veterans housing program is attracting strong interest. Mapleton-Fall Creek has received several applications and will be accepting them until Feb. 5, Riley Evans said. The organization hopes to make its selections later this month and have the four homes constructed by summer. Even with the subsidies, the homes might cost $100,000, she said.
“[The IDVA] didn’t feel that was appropriate, in terms of giving them the property,” Riley Evans said. “They wanted the vets to contribute to redeveloping the community.”
Downtown homebuilder Carley Custom Builders has agreed to construct the homes for the four veterans who are selected.
Veterans interested in applying for the program should contact the IDVA office at 232-3910.
Indiana has the fourth-largest National Guard membership in the country and about 500,000 veterans living in the state, according to the Indiana Department of Veterans Affairs.