Over $3 Million for Minority Jobs

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At Kirkpatrick Park, MDHA Executive Director Jim Harbison shares a moment with Karen Y. Johnson, Metro Councilwoman, candidate for Register of Deeds. Photo by Clint Confehr

By Clint Confehr

EAST NASHVILLE, TN — Minority construction subcontractors might expect to be paid more than $3 million together for their part in building 94 apartments at Kirkpatrick Park, city and business leaders say.

“We are very focused on making sure that minorities are included,” Ralph Mosley, chairman of the Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency (MDHA) Board of Directors, said, emphasizing his contractor’s goal.

Exactly how much subcontractors are paid has not been announced. Competitive bids are part of the calculation. An MDHA spokeswoman emphasized it’s to be 20 percent of the general contractor’s contract.

MDHA hired R.G. Anderson Contractors, Engineers Co. of Nashville is the construction manager for this phase of Envision Cayce; replacement of old public housing with more units planned for residents paying all of their rent and those with subsidies.

“Our construction cost, including all the off-site improvements, are just a little over $20 million,” Craig Johnson, president, R.G. Anderson, said.

“We have a very detailed process of inviting disadvantaged businesses and small businesses” to bid on construction contracts, Johnson said. “We will end up achieving a 20 percent voluntary goal for disadvantaged and small businesses on this project.”

That 20 percent is “less our overhead and site supervision,” Johnson said.

“We’ll also hold a job fair … for the subcontractors on the job to try to employ some of the local residents,” said Johnson. He’s also R.G. Anderson’s chief operating officer.

MDHA Executive Director Jim Harbison said, “The total project value is right at $26 million.” That total, MDHA spokeswoman Jamie Berry, said, “is all costs, including construction, fees, financing, legal, and contingency.” Harbison said attempts are being made to exceed the 20 percent for disadvantaged businesses and small businesses.

Councilman Brett Withers represents District 6 which includes Cayce Homes, the area with Kirkpatrick Park.

“The MDHA Board works to select vendors,” Withers said. “This project has been fully vetted by the community for many years.”

Councilwoman Karen Johnson said, “I have friends who live in this area. All areas of Nashville are important and we want every area to thrive.

“What’s real important is that we create mixed income communities because that is the way our city envisions improving the quality of life for everyone,” Johnson said. “Developments like this … open communication and a conversation on where, we, as Nashville, want to take our communities.”

Also at a ceremonial groundbreaking for apartments in Kirkpatrick Park, Denise Cleveland-Leggett, HUD’s Region IV administrator, said her grandmother lived in Nashville as did her parents for a number of years.

“Mixed income communities are absolutely essential,” Cleveland-Leggett said. They “help change the trajectory of people, especially children.”

Such communities also change the “face of what public housing was; a concentration of poverty — another downfall to the trajectory of people and families,” Cleveland-Leggett said.

Mayor Megan Barry said the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development helped Nashville with $500,000 toward the townhouse-style buildings that will be three stories high, instead of the two-story public housing buildings being replaced.

Harbison said the plan is to create diversity, a strength for the city. R.G. Anderson is “chomping at the bit to get started,” MDHA’s executive said during groundbreaking ceremonies Nov. 29.

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