Blazer Home program off to great start

Blazer Home program

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Reducing traffic is one reason UAB has launched something called the Blazer Home program.

We told you three months ago they were offering university employees incentives to buy a home in Five Points, Glen Iris or Titusville.

"The dowtown malfunction junction area was kind of crazy and stressful," Vince Burgett said.

That's why Burgett and his wife recently traded the maddening drive from Morris for this handsome home in Birmingham's 5 Points South, between Dreamland and the South precinct.

"My wife is two minutes from her office I'm three of four minutes from my office," he said.

And just as they were closing on the house, Burgett ,a construction manager with 30-plus years at UAB got an $8,000 grant from the Blazer Home program.

"We're in the process now of using the blazer home money for the exterior to replace the damaged wood, pressure wash and do a good exterior paint job," Burgett said. "We want to incentivize the employees to move closer to campus."

The Blazer Home program is coordinated by Josephine Banks.

"We're hoping we can build connections with the adjacent neighborhoods, in addition to getting our employees involved with community efforts in those neighborhoods," she said.

The pilot program was intended to impact 50 homes across the three neighborhoods over five years, but just three months after announcing it they've handed out the first 10 grants and are taking applications for the second year of grants.

The timing is especially important for the Titusville neighborhood. Just this week, DC Blox announced it would open a data center on the neighborhood's east end.

While renovation of the Loveman Village housing development continues on it's west end, neighborhood president John C. Harris is excited about all of the developments including Blazer Home.

"We need new homes. We need younger homeowners. Most of the residents of this neighborhood are elderly disabled veterans. So we need to build back this neighborhood," he said.

Banks suggests the second round of grants could be handed out before the end of the calendar year.

For more information on the Blazer Home program, click here.

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