Crawford-Sebastian Community Development Council broke ground Thursday on the first home of a new subdivision in Cedarville that will provide affordable housing for 19 families.
Amanda Myers and her 3-year-old daughter Emberlynn will be the lucky owners of the first new home in Bluebird Estates, located off Thompson Lane, once completed.
Myers is participating in the USDA’s Mutual Self-Help Housing Program, in which she puts in "sweat equity" by helping where she can with completion of her home and those of others in the program.
Myers’ new red brick home will be 1,520 total square feet, with three bedrooms, two baths and a two-car garage sitting on a three-quarter acre piece of property.
It, as all the homes in the subdivision, will be built to Energy Star Homes new 3.0 energy efficient requirements and certified as such.
Karen Phillips, director of the Housing and Asset Development Center with the CSCDC, has been one of those working on the subdivision project for the last two years, she said. It is the first subdivision built solely under the direction of the CSCDC, she said.
"The CSCDC have been dreaming about this subdivision for a while," Phillips said during the groundbreaking ceremony.
Cedarville is Phillips’ hometown, and it has been a goal for her to bring affordable housing to the area, she said. Those who wish to live in the area for the most part have a choice of either an expensive home or low quality rentals, Phillips said.
"Affordable housing - there’s just not a whole lot in Cedarville," Phillips said."I just felt like the area needed more."
Thompson Lane is home to nine other houses built by the CSCDC, which started building in the area in 2005, Phillips said.
"I never knew I was going to come back to Cedarville one day and help people have affordable homes," Phillips said during the ceremony. "It’s very satisfying."
While there has been some concern from locals about what an affordable housing subdivision may mean, Phillips said they will soon see that it will be no different from the other houses built by the CSCDC in the area - nice homes for nice families.
Ronnie Miller, construction supervisor for the CSCDC, estimates conservatively that many families who move into a home built under his supervision save 33 to 35 percent on their utility bills.
"The utility bills, that’s what I get the most calls about, thanking us for that," Miller said.
Some of the energy saving measures used include caulking all exterior walls and crevices, cellulose blown insulation in the walls and attic, solar tech roof decking that reflects heat, water saving plumbing fixtures, energy efficient appliances and heating and air, insulating board on the exterior walls, and House Wrap - in which the home is basically wrapped in plastic before the outside walls go up.
"We just seal up everything we can really tight," Miller said.
Myers is excited to move into the new, energy efficient home with her daughter, she said.
"It’s just nice to not have to rent, to be able to be a home owner so young," Myers said.
Cedarville Mayor Glenanna O’Mara, who attended the ceremony, also spoke in favor of the new subdivision.
"It’s going to bring in more economic development for Cedarville," O’Mara said, adding that it will bring in more funding for the school system. "We’re proud to have a welcoming and growing community."
Construction on the Myers home is set to begin next week, weather permitting, Miller said.