The Murfreesboro Housing Authority has a two-phase plan in the works to redevelop two of its affordable-housing communities in the Mercury Boulevard area.

The complexes up for renovation are Parkside and Mercury Court.

Phase One will replace 46 homes on the Parkside and Mercury Court properties. Phase Two will add 100 new homes to the latter property, according to the project’s planners.

The MHA’s redevelopment proposal will closely resemble a previous plan the design team has used to update the units in Oakland Courts on North Maple Street. These plans were put into action in the spring of 2019, and redevelopment is still in progress.

McCarty Holsaple McCarty, a Knoxville-based architecture firm, is one of the design teams set to take on the project. The team has committed to the updates being made for Oakland Courts as well.

Margaret Butler, principal and vice president of the firm, took the lead in walking planners through the discussions to be had with stakeholders about the task at hand. The team used a “charrette schedule,” which involves allowing both designers and the community to converse and share information.

Due to the pandemic, the general public was invited to attend a virtual meeting via Zoom at the end of January for more details. The 18 attendees, including stakeholders, were able to ask questions and express concerns.

Prior to a second Zoom call on Feb. 10, an online survey was issued to gauge reactions of community residents about the types of changes they’d like to see in the neighborhood.

One of the Zoom attendees raised a concern for the area’s senior population, stating that many of the older residents may not have the tech-savviness to navigate digital methods of community outreach.

The MHA’s response was to offer printed materials at the MHA office or mailing tangible information to residents.

The completed surveys yielded a general trend in redevelopment preferences. Residents were asked which building configuration they would prefer: single-family townhomes, a multi-rise building, or something in between. The majority opinion leaned towards single-family units with yards. This would mean less public space.

The MHA specified that the results of these surveys are not necessarily indicative of the final design plan.

A Zoom call and Facebook Live covering the “Final Master Plan” was held last week. Butler hosted that virtual meeting and answered questions from the live commenting system. The meeting showed renderings and floor plans of what the new housing options could look like. Potential building materials were also shown.

The call was recorded and is available to be streamed on the MHA’s Facebook page and the Mercury Park Master Plan website. An in-person meeting was also offered in the Patterson Park Community Center last week.

Rezoning the properties and collecting bids are the first items on the agenda. When bids are received in the spring, construction for Phase One will begin in this fall.