Marion Watkins Jr. had a 73rd birthday party to remember on Tuesday, Aug. 27. 

Along with cake and balloons, Mayor Joe Pitts and the Clarksville’s Office of Housing & Community Development presented Watkins with a key to his rebuilt home on Cedar Street.

“On behalf of the City of Clarksville, I’m proud to present you with this key to your new home,” Pitts said. “And we look forward to celebrating many more birthdays with you right here on Cedar Street.”

Watkins, a retired truck driver, said he was happy to be returning to the address he has called home for 56 years. 

“This is where I’ve lived for a long time, and I’m pleased to be back,” Watkins said. “I think the house is beautiful. They did a great job with the construction.”

Last year, Watkins approached the City to inquire about housing rehabilitation programs offered by the Office of Housing & Community Development. Inspectors determined that it would not be cost-effective to rehab Watkins’ aging Cedar Street house, so the City recommended using resources from the federal HOME Investment Partnership Program to remove the old structure and rebuild on Watkins’ property.

In this case, HOME provided a low-cost guaranteed loan to Watkins, and the City provided a 25 percent match. Aspen Park Properties of Clarksville was hired to build the new 988 square-foot home, which includes a modern kitchen, bathroom and HVAC system. Overall, the project cost $141,390.

The City’s Office of Housing & Community Development administers several federal programs, including HOME and Community Development Block Grants, to build and rehabilitate affordable housing in Clarksville. 

“The purpose of the federal programs are to develop viable neighborhoods by providing decent housing and a suitable living environment, principally for persons of low and moderate income,” said Keith Lampkin, Clarksville Director of Community & Economic Development. 

For information about City housing assistance programs, contact the Office of Housing & Community Development, One Public Square, Clarksville; or call 931-648-6133.

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