The City of Whitwell received some disheartening news during their January City Commission meeting.

The city applied for a grant in July that would have built one- and two-bedroom housing units for senior citizens. The city recently received word that they were turned down for the grant.

But the news isn’t all bad. Jake Ramsey, with Waypoint Housing, told the Commission he can hopefully still build housing units for the city. The city partnered with Waypoint on the original grant for senior housing.

Ramsey told the board he can hopefully get housing tax credits that will help build a development inside the city limits of Whitwell. He said his company has experience working with the Tennessee Housing Development Agency and currently has developed, constructed and manages 50 properties in the Southeast.

He said the THDA using a scoring system to award the tax credits.

“My company meets all the criteria to get those points (from THDA),” he said.

He also said since Marion County is a low-income county, it will help his chances to secure the tax credits.

Ramsey said his company has already begun the process of applying for the credits and would like the city to continue working on the project.

“I would ask for you to consider continuing our effort to bring some affordable housing to Whitwell with a proposal for those tax credits,” said Ramsey. “My company would afford the cost for that proposal, which would include a market study and appraisal. It’s about $30,000 to submit one of these applications, but we feel good enough about it to take on that cost burden if the city is willing to continue to try to work with us.”

Ramsey said to increase their chances at obtaining the tax credits, the project will be broadened to more than just senior housing.

“It will be more family housing because of the limited market in Whitwell,” he told the Board. “We would need to broaden the market to more than just seniors to justify this.”

He said one-, two-, and three-bedroom townhomes will be built and a certain portion of the one- and two-bedroom units will be designated for seniors. He also said the State of Tennessee will determine the rent, which will be based on the average income of Marion County households.

The development will be built on city-owned property in their industrial park.

When asked about the timeline, Ramsey said “I have already started working on this development. I have engaged a market analyst and appraiser to start working on it. It takes around 90 days. I will fine-tune the details with everybody in the next two or three weeks.”

The board authorized Ramsey to continue working on the project and move forward with the tax incentives.

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