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Residents Displaced By Newtown Extension Begin The Move To Permanent Housing

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Josh James
/
WUKY

The first batch of families displaced by the Newtown Pike Extension is set to move into their new homes at Davis Park View before Thanksgiving.

Though construction only began on the small block of permanent housing back in April, the idea of relocating the neighborhood was being floated by transportation officials as far back as 1958.

Now, more than half a century later, a handful of Davis Bottom residents who have been living in rent-free government-owned housing for years finally have a place to truly call home. Asked if he’s been looking forward to this day, tenant James Roe doesn’t have to think twice.

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Credit Josh James / WUKY
/
WUKY
The first completed phase of Davis Park View

"Oh yeah, I'm ready. I'm ready to get out of that trailer," he says.

Outside, Johan Graham with Davis Park View developer AU Associates looks out on the row of duplexes, quadplexes, and single home houses – all fitted with energy efficient appliances to help keep utility costs low.

"It looks like there are not very many units, but there are fourteen packed in here in a very tight area," he explains. "Which I think is great because we're walkable to downtown... and we're on the bus line, which is important for low to moderate income people who live in downtown to be close to transportation."

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Credit Josh James / WUKY
/
WUKY
A kitchen inside one of the quadplexes at Davis Park View

AU president Holly Wiedemann, meanwhile, stresses the collaborative nature of the project, which required a complicated balancing act of multiple funding sources. To see it all come together just before the holidays is an added bonus, she says.

"We're really excited that families are moving in tomorrow to be able to spend Thanksgiving, which really is the essence of the word... thanks-giving."

Once the residents move in, the question becomes: how to keep the units affordable. To that end, project organizers have set up a community land trust, which is intended to provide some long-term protections for those affected by extension.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.