Eau Claire celebrates construction of new affordable homes in Burton Heights neighborhood

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The residents of the Burton Heights neighborhood soon will welcome new families. The Eau Claire Development Corp. and the city of Columbia held a ribbon cutting celebrating the construction of three new ready-to-move affordable homes.

“We’re here today because fundamentally our job is to create opportunity and nothing says opportunity more than owning your own home,” said Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin. “Today is about creating that opportunity for Columbia’s families and our neighborhoods. It’s about building our city one home at a time.”

The three homes are part of the development of Burton Heights III, a subdivision off of Farrow Road on Burton Heights Circle, which will feature 26 single-family residential homes.

There are two-bedroom and three-bedroom options with well-appointed kitchens and appliances. Hardwood floors, irrigated landscaping and a single-car garage are several amenities included in each home. The homes start at $120,000.

“The quality is excellent. One of our commitments is to make the development blend with the existing homes,” Councilman Sam Davis said.

Davis said the design of the homes were created to be similar to the existing homes in the neighborhood.

“Everything is on the same scale. It’s compatible with the existing housing and the price range is excellent for new homebuyers and for families who are retiring and need less maintenance,” he said.

The Eau Claire Development Corp. led the project, including securing $650,000 in Federal HOME Funds for the housing construction, said corporation executive director Michael Strange. More than $2.5 million in funding has been allocated to the project since 2007.

“I think it’s a testimony to what can happen when people work together,” said Richard Dozier, corporation board chairman. “It shows how we can do things that (Columbia) City Council and city staff can’t do.”

Real estate firm Russell and Jeffcoat will be selling the homes, and agents already have secured one home under contract that is expected to go through closing Sept. 5. The city also is offering financing through its G.A.P. program for eligible individuals to reduce their monthly mortgage to $500 a month.

“It’s almost like a start to your life. Your home is your castle,” said Bob Russell, who grew up in the Eau Claire community.

Benjamin said the homes represent the city’s commitment to delivering an improved quality of life for Columbia residents and promoting meaningful development.

“Our neighborhoods are the lifeblood in our community,” he said. “You build the city one household at a time.”

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