ABOVE: The Hard Bargain Association has worked to achieve historic preservation and maintain a supply of affordable housing.
By JOHN McBRYDE
It could be said that twin sisters put the exclamation point on what has become the Hard Bargain Association’s most ambitious project since it first started building homes in the historic neighborhood nearly 13 years ago.
Janell Goodlow and her identical twin sister, Shawnell Goodlow, bought the final house in a five-home Bungalow Court on Mount Hope Street in Franklin. As it happens, their older sister, Jasmine Lillard, lives in the house next door.
“It was a learning experience, of course, because I’ve never been through the home-buying process,” Janell Goodlow said. “But as the process went on, I just gained so much from it and I feel like I did grow from it. It’s definitely been a blessing, and I’m just proud of it.”
All five of the homeowners in the “pocket neighborhood” will be recognized at the Hard Bargain Association’s ribbon cutting ceremony and celebration on Saturday at 9 a.m. at 723 Mt. Hope St. Parking is available at Johnson Elementary School at the corner of 11th Avenue North and Mt. Hope Street.
“It’s very significant in that we’ve built five homes for five different families.” HBA Executive Director Brant Bousquet said. “This is definitely the biggest thing that we’ve ever done, and it has taken a lot of time and energy, and many people have been involved — companies, contractors, individuals and volunteers.
“It’s a wonderful celebration to have come to this point. It’s been a long time coming.”
The HBA embarked on the project in December 2013; and as it has done since the first home in the neighborhood was completed in May 2007, Crane Builders did the building on the most recent five in the Bungalow Court.
“I am glad to be a part of this project because it’s a way help keep people in the Hard Bargain neighborhood who might otherwise not be able to stay or move back,” David Crane, owner of Crane Builders, said in a press release from the HBA. “I have a heart for Hard Bargain, and it’s a way to give back to the community and to the industry.”
The HBA builds new homes and sells them at below market value to low- to moderate-income families and individuals. The Bungalow Court is an example of what the HBA has achieved through partnerships, grants and donations collected from individuals and from fundraising events such as the Blackberry Jam music festival coming up on Saturday, June 22.
“These five homes are a beautiful addition to the Hard Bargain neighborhood,” Bousquet said in the press release. “Homeownership is the easiest way to create wealth in our country. These homeowners are having the dream of homeownership come true, and it will change not only the individual homeowners’ lives but their children and grandchildren.”
In recognition of the multifamily-home project, the HBA was presented with the Heritage Preservation award at last month’s annual meeting of the Heritage Foundation of Williamson County.
The HBA’s goal is to help preserve and revitalize the historic Hard Bargain neighborhood, which was founded more than 130 years ago by Harvey McLemore, a freed slave. The mission is to preserve the historic Hard Bargain neighborhood by renovating existing homes, building high-quality affordable housing and enriching the lives of residents.