published Saturday, August 25th, 2012

Revitalizing M.L. King neighborhood


Second generation family businessman Kirk Robinson, right, and his crew, Frank Johnson, left, and Travis Strickland, paint a home in the 1000 block of East 10th Street.
Second generation family businessman Kirk Robinson, right, and his crew, Frank Johnson, left, and Travis Strickland, paint a home in the 1000 block of East 10th Street.
Photo by Tim Barber /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

R&R Refurbishing and Painting renovated retired school administrator Sandra Clark's house on 10th Street. Now the company is doing work for UTC music professor Roland Carter. And the company already has lined up work with UTC math professor Anita Polk-Conley in the fall.

At age 69, company owner Kirk Robinson said he's just getting started. He said his goal is to refurbish houses in the entire neighborhood.

Robinson and his company are focused on a neighborhood that has benefited from a surge of revitalization work.

In the 1980s and mid 1990s, single-family homes in the community sold for less than $75,000, according to news reports. Since 2000, when developers Moses Freeman and James Pratt talked about selling houses in the M.L. King neighborhood for more than $100,000, home values have increased. Houses have sold for and been built for three times that amount since then, said Polk-Conley, a former M.L. King neighborhood president and homeowner.

"This is M.L. King Heights," said Polk-Conley about her transformed community. "That's the name we've come up with. It's something that says we're really proud of where we live."

Polk-Conley said she and her husband, George, asked Robinson to work at their home after she saw the work done for Clark.

"He does take his time, but it looks beautiful when he gets done," she said.

about Yolanda Putman...

Yolanda Putman has been a reporter at the Times Free Press for 11 years. She covers housing and previously covered education and crime. Yolanda is a Chattanooga native who has a master’s degree in communication from the University of Tennessee and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Alabama State University. She previously worked at the Lima (Ohio) News. She enjoys running, reading and writing and is the mother of one son, Tyreese. She has also ...

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