Ground was broken Tuesday in downtown Mount Vernon for a program replacing older mobile homes with new energy efficient small houses. The project involves more than a dozen public and private partners.
The Recycling Our Outdated Trailer Sites, or ROOTS, involves replacing five, single wide units with eight new narrow houses. The two and three bedroom houses will be on weather tight fixed foundations.
The pilot is being orchestrated by the Kentucky Highlands Community Development Corporation. Jerry Rickett is president and CEO.
“The concept is to take a trailer site and reuse it and recycle it into affordable housing and to upgrade the existing homes for the people that are here,” said Rickett.
Rickett says eligible families will be asked to spend no more than 24 percent of their income on house payments and taxes. He says plans call for the first three houses to be completed within four months.
Blake Enlow is president of Highlands Housing, which will oversee construction. “Most of the time during the winter and the worst months, January, February, March, people that live in these inefficient trailers, pre-code trailers are paying out probably utilities bills close to a home payment,” noted Enlow.
Enlow says the two and three bedroom houses will vary in price from about $120,000 to $135,000.
When families move into the new homes, it will mean additional tax revenues for local government and schools, due to the increased value of the homes. Mount Vernon Mayor Mike Bryant says there will be opportunities for reinvestment. “You know we try to turn around and reinvest that revenue back in the community, so in a sense it helps the folks who live in this new housing and it will generate some revenue for the city, but that revenue’s going go right back into doing more of these kinds of things,” explained Bryant.
Kentucky Highlands CEO Jerry Rickett says, if successful, the initiative could become a statewide or national model. In Kentucky there are more than 49,000 mobile homes currently occupied built before 1980.