Affordable housing built for former Scott Carver residents

caines | 7/26/2012, 5:34 a.m.

For over six years, 80-year old Ophelia Grant has been waiting to come back home. The mother of 10 children had lived in the Scott Carver Housing Project for over 37 years. The communitys closing in 2005 forced her, along with an estimated 800 families, to move away from the community. But she never lost hope. I knew it was coming back, but I didnt know when, she said. But, I made up my mind to come back because I knew things would be different and better. Now Grant lives in her own two bedroom apartment home in the recently built Northpark at Scott Carver along Northwest 23 avenue and Northwest 74th street. I like how clean everything is, explained Grant, who moved into her new apartment in March of 2012. Grant is among approximately 56 former Scott Carver residents who currently live in the apartment community, according to Stefan Lashley, the area manager for McCormack Baron Ragan Management Services, Inc., one of the developers that built the Northpark apartments. The apartment homes represent Phase II of the Scott Carver Hope VI project. The Hope VI project is an initiative designed to revitalize lower income neighborhoods and create a mixed-income community. said Sandra Seals, executive vice president for the Reliance Housing Foundation, Inc., the Northpark apartments co-developer. Part of the Phase II of the Hope VI development project to revitalize the area, 354 rental apartments, including a variety of one bedrooms up to four bedrooms townhouses and apartments, and ranging in prices from $651 to $1065. At least 177 or half of the units have are to be saved for former Scott Carver residents, according to Lashley. The priority is for former Scott Carver residents who lived here, he explained. Former Scott Carver residents like Jacquelyn Blackmon, 52, who had lived in the old housing project for over 10 years before being forced to leave. I enjoyed living there, thats why a lot of people want to come back, she said. I mean we had a lot of problems, but as far as people knowing each other and protecting each other, it was good sense of community, Blackmon said. Blackmon eventually found herself living in the Liberty Square Housing project. On May 8th, Blackmon, along with her daughter and her daughters two children moved into a four bedroom apartment with two bathrooms at Northpark at Scott Carver. Their new apartment included new appliances and amenities, of particular importance to Blackmon was the central air conditioning system. Right now, everybody is still just so happy and excited to be here, she said. Were pinching ourselves to make sure its real because its so amazing. For the remaining units 107 are to be for low to moderate income people and the remaining 70 units are open to all income levels. The idea is to create a mixed-income neighborhood, according to Seals. we believe that a healthy community is a mixed community with people from all walks of life, explained Seals. Back in the day, you didnt have to create that sort of neighborhood, thats just how neighborhoods were and thats exactly what you have in North Park. Lisandro and Carmen Santiago had never lived in the old Scott Carver community. But Lisandro knew about the areas history and was impressed with the new units at first sight. Theyre not built like homes in Florida are usually built, he said. Everything is built to last. By Kaila Heardkheard@miamitimesonline.com