Durham Housing Authority Engages Residents to Revitalize Southeast Central Durham
On March 5 and 6, 2013 Curt Davis and Emily Williams of the HUD North Carolina Office of Field Policy and Management joined Paula Rouse and Marianne Nazzaro of the Office of Public and Indian Housing in HUD Headquarters, along with staff of the Durham Housing Authority and local stakeholders to launch the Choice Neighborhoods project and provide onsite technical assistance in Durham, North Carolina. Five months earlier on October 12, 2012, HUD awarded the Durham Housing Authority (www.durhamhousingauthority.org/) a $300,000 Choice Neighborhoods grant to support the development of a community-driven transformation plan for revitalizing public housing in the Southeast Central neighborhood of Durham.
Over 55 individuals, including the Mayor and City Manager of Durham, City Council members, the City of Durham Fire Department, Police Department, Community Development Office, professors at NC Central and representatives of non-profit organizations engaged in discussions at the North Carolina Central University, a principal partner for the grant. Attendees enthusiastically joined together to learn about the project and to offer suggestions for the revitalization of their neighborhood.
The Southeast Central neighborhood was, at one time, a robust center of economic development for African-Americans in North Carolina. However, in the 1960s, as the entirety of the neighborhood suffered from disinvestment and economic decline, McDougald Terrace, a 360-unit public housing property also began to decline. Today the neighborhood is punctuated with abandoned homes and businesses; has a poverty rate of 47.1% and a record of Part 1 violent crimes that exceeds the City's rate. The need for neighborhood revitalization, and particularly, reinvestment in McDougald Terrace, was recognized throughout the meeting discussions, but became particularly apparent during the bus and walking tour of the neighborhood.
With Choice Neighborhoods funding in place, the Durham Housing Authority and its community partners will collaborate to develop a plan to reverse the 50-year decline of this underserved neighborhood by capitalizing on the neighborhood's assets, including a location that is proximal to NC Central University and only two miles from Duke University/Medical Center. This transformation plan, supported by organizations that include city government, federal agencies and health care organizations, will foster the development of walking trails and a greenways plan. It will include plans for parks, sidewalks and transportation centers. Partners will work together to encourage small businesses and recruit a grocery store for the neighborhood. Most importantly, this funding provides a means to create a community-driven steering committee that will be instrumental in ensuring that the long term needs of the residents in the neighborhood are served.
Go to Choice Neighborhoods on HUD's website to learn more.
|Content Archived: October 2, 2014|