Photo courtesy of Renton Housing Authority

Photo courtesy of Renton Housing Authority

City takes next step to improve Sunset community

In-unit washer and dryer, front and back doors, sleek ovens and counter tops. Large preserved trees and an edible landscape, artichokes and raspberries included, with kitchen windows looking out at a central playground. A court anyone could live in, but for those who need it most.

Renton took another step toward its vision for the Sunset community Saturday, Oct. 13 with a ribbon cutting for it’s latest affordable housing project.

Renton Housing Authority celebrated the grand opening of the Sunset Court Apartments with local and regional leaders and community members. Tours of the three-bedroom townhomes, three-bedroom flats, two-bedroom and one-bedroom flats were given. The 50 apartments and townhomes are now accepting applications.

Mark Gropper, Renton Housing Authority’s Executive Director, said at the ribbon cutting families will be able to pay 30 percent of their income in rent and utilities while living in Sunset Court apartments.

Mayor Denis Law spoke at the ribbon cutting about the importance of the Sunset Court and remarked multiple times on the importance of partnerships in making projects like this possible in Renton.

Law said the city has been thinking of their vision for the Sunset community over many years, with well over $100 million spent in this area. Law spoke about the history of substandard housing and depressed neighborhoods throughout the area, and how the housing authority did a miraculous job creating places for those with less income to live that offers a quality anyone would want to live in.

“When you get a chance to go through, you need to go look at the quality of this construction, and park-like amenities that families are going to get to enjoy, it’s really great,” Law said.

Senator Bob Hasegawa filled in for Congressman Adam Smith to speak at the event. Hasegawa said he was really pleased with the work of Renton Housing Authority and pleased with representing Renton, which offers a balance to Seattle.

“The city of Renton is not suffering from a lot of the problems that you might think are happening everywhere else. Renton has a great vision for its future, and this is an integral part of it, fulfilling the needs of the community,” Hasegawa said.

Hasegawa said Sunset Court is a step in the path of the biggest civil rights issue currently, housing. He also said this wasn’t the first step, remembering attending the Kirkland Avenue Townhomes grand opening last year.

Senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray sent letters congratulating the Renton Housing Authority on this grand opening, and on the importance of housing.

Gropper said it is important to recognize how the federal government helped enable them to keep rents low for families at Sunset Court. The regional administrator for Housing and Urban Development, Jeffrey McMorris, spoke at the event, too. McMorris said Renton Housing Authority stood out as an example of achieving good results, with a bold vision for sunset neighborhood, despite being smaller than Seattle or King County’s housing authorities.

“I was told Renton recently received its seventh governor smart community award. I believe you’re the only city to have seven of those under your belt,” McMorris said. “And with everything going on around here I think eight and nine are around the corner rather soon.”

Gropper also thanked Renton Housing Authority Director of Construction Sean McCarty who utilized his over 30 years of experience to offer wisdom and authority during the construction process. Gropper said they were indebted to McCarty’s work.

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