Residents will soon see fresh paint, energy-efficient upgrades and a new roof at Ferrill Square Apartments, a housing complex for low-income seniors and disabled adults at 471 Price Road.
Mayor Jim Gray celebrated the renovations with residents, community leaders, and members of the First African Baptist Church, which owns the property. Ferrill Square is one of the first projects funded through the City’s Office of Affordable Housing.
“Lexington boasts a high quality of life, and it’s important that all our residents have access to affordable housing,” Gray said. “Everyone deserves a safe, comfortable place to call home. The investments at Ferrill Square will ensure that residents can continue to enjoy—and afford—their home for many years to come.”
Rev. Nathl Moore, Pastor of First African Baptist Church, described the Ferrill Square Apartments community as a family atmosphere. “A revitalized spirit has been growing at Ferrill Square over the past few years. We are grateful for the wonderful collaboration between the City; our contractor, REACH, Inc.; and our management company, Beacon Properties, to enable the renovation of this facility. Our residents are looking forward to the improvements.”
Ferrill Square Apartments is made up of 59 one-bedroom units. A $400,000 grant from the City’s Affordable Housing Fund will assist the renovation project, including:
“There are very few vacancies at Ferrill Square, which demonstrates the need for this type of housing,” said Rick McQuady, Director of the Office of Affordable Housing. “This grant will help preserve the affordable housing we have, ensuring those units remain in service for residents in need.”
The Office of Affordable Housing was created in 2014 to preserve and grow residential opportunities that are safe and affordable across Lexington. Affordable housing is defined as housing and utilities that cost no more than 30 percent of a household’s total gross income.
Mayor Gray and the Urban County Council dedicated $3 million to launch the Affordable Housing Fund and have committed to contributing at least $2 million to the fund each year. Housing developers can apply for grants, forgivable loans and low-interest loans.
“In less than a year of operation, we’ve allocated about $2 million from the Affordable Housing Fund to leverage $5.3 million in private investment,” Gray said. “That has led to the renovation or new construction of 350 residential units. There is still work to do, but we’re making progress in improving access to quality, affordable housing.”
The Ferrill Square apartment building has a long history in Lexington. Originally the Douglass School for African American students, the building sat vacant from 1972 to 1999, when it was reborn as Kanisa Apartments. The building was renamed three years ago in honor of London Ferrill, a former slave and the iconic preacher of First African Baptist Church.
The renovations at Ferrill Square Apartments are expected to be completed in early 2016.