The Chattanooga Housing Authority was one of only two housing authorities in the state to receive federal funding to create green public housing.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded the housing authority $4.8 million in stimulus money this month. CHA plans to use the money to tear down and rebuild Fairmount Avenue Apartments, the agency's only public housing site north of the Tennessee River.
Of the more than 5,000 authorities that provide public housing and Housing Choice Vouchers, CHA was among 36 selected as recipients of the government's competitive grant funding.
"There are 88 housing authorities in the state of Tennessee. For the (Chattanooga) housing authority to be selected as one to receive this grant speaks for itself," said Naveed Minhas, CHA's vice president of development.
The Memphis Housing Authority received $8.8 million, while in Georgia, the Northwest Georgia Housing Authority received $1.7 million.
When CHA rebuilds the Fairmount complex, it will be the only public housing site in the state with rooftop solar panels that produce 10 percent of the electricity used on the site, Mr. Minhas said.
The new apartments also will include strategically planted shade trees, use of highly reflective concrete and roofs to lower temperatures, eco-friendly linoleum flooring and energy efficient appliances and lighting, he said.
The complex also will be a smoke-free facility.
Demolition of the existing site is scheduled next spring, with construction scheduled to start next summer.
The number of units in the complex is expected to increase from 28 units to 48 when complete, Mr. Minhas said.
The 2.8-acre site in North Chattanooga was built in 1977.
The apartments have poor access for the disabled, extensive water damage and structural deficiencies that are too expensive to renovate, Mr. Minhas said.
However, some former residents said they hate to see the complex destroyed.
"Some of them look nasty, but they could fix the floors and put new heating units on them and put the solar roofs on them," said Chris Smith, who once lived in the complex. "Bulldozing the apartments is a waste of taxpayer money."
Four families still live in the apartments, CHA officials said.
Kendra Thrash, a home-owner on Fairmount Avenue, said she and more than a dozen of her neighbors don't want the apartments rebuilt.
"I'm terrified," she said.
Since about 2005, when occupancy at the complex dwindled to fewer than five households, there has been peace, she said.
Before then there was speeding traffic, break-ins and drug deals in front of her house, she said.
Mr. Minhas said CHA wants to be a good neighbor and the agency will install surveillance cameras and increase security in the area once the units are occupied.
* 1977: Fairmount Avenue Apartments built
* September 2009: CHA receives $4.8 million through the federal stimulus plan to help the agency be more environmentally friendly
* Spring 2010: Demolition of Fairmount Avenue Apartments scheduled
* Summer 2010: Construction of new Fairmount green apartments
* Winter 2011: Construction scheduled to be complete by end of the year