Progress made in Oak Summit neighborhood in Blackwell

By Sunni Blevins - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - More progress is being made in one of Richmond's newest neighborhoods.

Development continues in Oak Summit at Goose Creek where the homes are meant to be affordable and eco-friendly.

Eleven homes now stand and nine of them are already sold. Mortgages range from $800 to $1,000.

The better housing coalition says the goal is to help first time home buyers achieve the American dream -- it's also revitalizing the Blackwell Community of Manchester in South Richmond.

NBC12 visited last summer when this revitalization effort kicked off in Oak Summit at Goose Creek, and the first tenant moved in.

Since then, there have been a lot of changes and a whole street full of new homes, and it's not over yet.

Folks at the Better Housing Coalition have big dreams.

Jane Helfrich with the Better Housing Coalition says, "they'll be street lamps here provided by the city from some of the block grant funds, and you can see the landscaping going in down there.  When it's filled with people and children, it's just going to be a vibrant place to live.

Last summer, we met with the first man to move into this neighborhood, city employee Michael Venable.

Michael says, "I like the fact that it's not to far from my job, you know it's really convenient, and with gas prices being so high right now, so I could even ride my bike to work if needed.

The BHC is excited to serve more people just like Mike.

These houses are affordable with an average mortgage of $800 to $1,000, and they're eco-friendly to help save money long term.

Helfrich says, "Michael's utilities are very low.  He has a solar hot water heater, it's on the roof , you can see those around, and special insulation is blown in, so what's in stays inside, your heat or air conditioning, and what's out doesn't come in.

Project leaders say most of the people who'll live here are first time home buyers: now achieving the American dream.

Helfrich says, "home ownership is how so many of us build our wealth. It's how we send our kids to college, and it's wonderful that the better housing coalition and the other agencies that work on affordable housing throughout Richmond can help with that."

When complete this neighborhood will feature 45 total homes.

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