Home Local Jeffco Housing Authority breaks ground on new units for seniors

Jeffco Housing Authority breaks ground on new units for seniors

From left: JCHA Executive Director Ken Vaughan; JCHA resident board member Charles Harris; JCHA Housing and Development Corp. Director Susan Mooney; JCHA Board Chairman Nolanda Bearden; JCHA Board Member Sam Parker; JCHA Housing and Development Corp. Board President Jane Bailey and JCHA Housing and Development Corp. Board member Charles Moore. (Provided Photo)

Senior residents of the Spring Gardens apartments near Tarrant will soon have the latest in safety, energy-efficiency and accessibility with brand-new units that raise the level of affordable living in Jefferson County.

The JCHA Housing and Development Corp., the development arm of the Jefferson County Housing Authority, is rebuilding more than 200 units at the senior apartment development. The garden-style homes are being completely gutted – stripped down to the studs – and rebuilt with modern, upgraded amenities, new safety and energy-efficiency features and enhanced accessibility. Some of the old units were plagued by water and structural damage due to a faulty roof design.

JCHA Executive Director Ken Vaughan shows plans for new apartments to Spring Garden residents. (Provided Photo)

The JCHA Housing and Development Corp., along with the Jefferson County Housing Authority, held a groundbreaking ceremony Thursday to mark the redevelopment. Participants included Jane Bailey, president of the JCHA Housing and Development Corp. board; Ken Vaughan, executive director of the JCHA; representatives of the architectural and construction companies working on the renovations; U.S. Housing and Urban Development officials; and Spring Garden residents.

“I am overjoyed that this renovation of Spring Gardens will benefit all our residents, and proud of the fact the JCHA Housing and Development Corp. is able to make this investment possible through careful and thorough planning,” Bailey said. “These new homes will be more accessible for those with special needs and feature upgraded flooring, fixtures and finishes, as well as energy-efficient items and updated fire safety features. Another great feature is a covered front entrance where residents can relax and visit with friends and neighbors.

“This is a community where our residents can take pleasure living there, and we look forward to seeing them enjoy their improved accommodations and all else the community has to offer,” Bailey added. “Our board is dedicated to making Spring Gardens one of best affordable senior housing developments anywhere. Our residents deserve it.”

Springs Gardens is a 244-unit affordable housing development for seniors age 55 year and older and handicapped individuals. All units are ground level and have front and rear access. Wheelchair accessible units also are available. The garden-home style apartments are built around a centrally located community center that include amenities such as a computer room with Internet access and free Wi-Fi, a craft room where ceramic and craft classes are held, and a library.

A JCHA bus makes weekly scheduled trips to banks, groceries and other stores. Various community groups provide planned programs for residents at the center. The site also hosts a Jefferson County senior center with a lunch nutrition program and activities five days a week for tenants and other county residents age 60 and over.

The initial Spring Gardens apartments were built in the 1980s, and the development was expanded over the years. About 40 units were renovated several years ago to correct structural problems and upgrade the apartments. The reconstruction of the remaining units is expected to take 18 to 24 months, according to Vaughan, the JCHA’s executive director.

“We are excited about the opportunity to give our residents the best in senior living, and we can’t wait to see the finished product,” Vaughan said. “We are also pleased we are able to work with a local architectural firm (AHO Architects, LLC) and an Alabama contractor (Olympia Construction of Albertville) that have built affordable housing all over the Southeast.”

The Spring Gardens Apartments Community Center address is 201 Spring Gardens Road, Birmingham, AL 35217. The apartments are just off Alabama Highway 79, north of Tarrant.