Lexington renews effort to provide affordable housing at Thompson's Knoll

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LEXINGTON, Va. (WDBJ) -- It looked and sounded like any other ribbon cutting. But it's not, really.

"It has been a torturous road," says Lexington Mayor Mimi Elrod. "But there are lots of things that move in that way, and it comes out to a good resolution, which I think we have here."

Developing Thompson's Knoll in North Lexington was always a different sort of project.

It was one that, over 10 years ago, the city government itself became involved in, trying to bring more affordable housing into Lexington.

Elrod explains: "People were saying: The teachers can't even live in Lexington, the policemen can't live in Lexington."

But regulations associated with affordable housing grants overly limited them, and the project faltered, until today.

Now, bright balloons mark where new, affordable houses will spring up, as part of a reorganization through private business.

"I'm familiar with this area, and I love it," says real estate agent Brant Wymond. "My kids went to school here. I know the people. And I think part of it is I just wanted it so bad, wanted it to work so bad, that I think that helped."

It was Wymond's first project after getting his license.

"I just went into it headstrong, and once I decide to do something I decide to do it."

And, working with builder Max Ivankov, they think they've found an affordable future for Thompson's Knoll.

"I felt like it was really a great opportunity for me to exercise my thinking and design muscle to come up with something we could deliver to the folks in the city," Ivankov says.

And, as Marylin Alexander, City Council, explains: "This is just the best case scenario: that we're going to have vibrancy on this hill, and houses, and children running around. You couldn't ask for better."