A new program aimed to promote repairs and new builds in rural cities has been part of a rural town recovery pilot program with the USDA, which has been testing the program in three cities across the state. In Middle Tennessee, a part of Springfield will be impacted.
"After two years we hope we can come back and look and see what kind of progress we’ve made and what kind of impact we made for the neighborhood and its citizens,” said Springfield Planning Director Grant Green.
In the last six years, the city has torn down nearly 250 homes. The USDA has been working with the city and focusing on an eight block radius around the Bransford Community Center.
On Tuesday, volunteers went door to door, conducting surveys about what changes home owners would like to see in that neighborhood. To help, the USDA has been offering 100 percent financing for low income or first time home buyers. Homeowners 62 years old and older can qualify for grants up to $7,500, but anyone interested in repairing their home can qualify for up to $20,000 at a one percent interest rate.
USDA officials said all of these incentives lead to one goal.
“We have to try and turn these neighborhoods back around that have suffered from disinvestment over the last several years: 10, 15, 20 years,” said Lisa Hewitt-Cruz with the USDA.
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