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Strawberry Hill Redevelopment Receives Ad Astra Award

--Kansas Housing Conference Honors City Vision with Excellence in Partnership Award--

Wichita - The 2011 Kansas Housing Conference awarded this year’s Ad Astra for Excellence in Partnership to the Strawberry Hill Redevelopment in Kansas City, Kansas. The eight block redevelopment area, located south of Armstrong between 4th and 6th streets, involved blight removal, infrastructure improvements, renovation of vacant housing stock, new home construction and renovation of vacant commercial buildings with the goal of attracting new residents and businesses to the community.

John Harvey, President and Executive Director of City Vision, Inc. accepted the award, thanking several key partners, such as the Downtown Shareholders, Unified Government of Wyandotte County, Greater Kansas City Local Initiatives Support Corporation and Wells Fargo Housing Foundation, for their continued support.

“We’re seven years into this neighborhood redevelopment project, which involves many moving parts - rehab, new construction, loft apartments and more recently, live-work studios for low and moderate income artists,” said Harvey. “So far, we’ve had 14 distinct partners and we’re still years away from getting it completed. Thanks to everyone for hanging in there with us,” added Harvey.

Highlights of the Strawberry Hill Redevelopment include:

1. The conversion of the former 100-year-old City Hall, which sat vacant for over
30 years, into 42 units of mixed-income, affordable housing.
2. Fifth Street infrastructure improvements which included new brick sidewalks, period street lights and underground utilities.
3. The construction of Fifth Street East Townhomes, the first Energy Star rated townhomes to be built in the metro area.

To date, over 60 new housing units have been developed and leased or sold toward a total of 110 new housing units within the Strawberry Hill Redevelopment area. Over $10 million has been invested by various partners with City Vision serving as the master developer. Funding sources included federal low-income housing tax credits, historic tax credits, HOME funds, tax increment financing, grants, loans and city capital maintenance funds.

Presented annually at the Kansas Housing Conference, the Ad Astra Awards celebrate housing advocates that consistently make a positive impact on their communities and the best practices of affordable housing developers, public housing authorities, community service organizations and others. Other award categories include Special Achievement in Affordable Housing Development - Urban and Rural, Affordable Housing Trail Blazer and Innovation in Housing and Community Development.

For more information on the Strawberry Hill Redevelopment, visit City Vision’s website. To listen to John Harvey’s acceptance speech, click here. To find out more about the 2011 Ad Astra Awards, visit www.kshousingconference.org.
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