Land, vacant for more than 10 years, causes frustration for Durham residents
Posted April 23
Updated April 24
Durham, N.C. — Years of frustration over a piece of land that has remained undeveloped for over a decade and concerns about the development of affordable housing in Durham will be addressed at a public meeting Monday night.
In 2007, the Durham Housing Authority had residents of Fayette Place leave their homes and, a few years later, the city leveled all the buildings.
Now, the land is fenced in and there is no plan on what to do with the nearly 20 acre property between Fayetteville Street and N.C. Highway 147.
For better or worse, Brenda Bradsher loves the place she calls home. She says her family earned their piece of the American dream at the corner of Grant Street in Durham.
“I have lived in this neighborhood for 71 years,” Bradsher said. “Four generations have lived in this house.”
The history of Fayette Place dates back about 50 years. Bradsher admits the housing projects had problems that weren’t ideal, but neither is the vacant land.
“It was family, it was vibrant, you’d see kids playing but then, when they moved it, it was nothing,” she said.
Residents now wonder what lies ahead, when the land will be developed and what will be built.
“The fear is, if this area continues to be neglected, there will be hundreds of people that live here that will not be invested in this community, will lose hope in their future,” said Ivan Parra.
Parra is an organizer for Durham’s Congregations, Associations and Neighborhoods, known as Durham CAN. Several dozen CAN supporters and community members will meet with Durham’s Housing Authority Monday.
They have one request- to turn the vacant land that they call an eye sore into affordable housing.
The Fayette Place property was purchased by Philadelphia-based development company Campus Apartments in 2007. The company said in the past that it shares the community’s desire to develop the property and that they have pursued viable opportunities.
Following calls from CAN last year to build affordable housing, Campus Apartments said in a statement last year that they had plans of developing affordable housing at the site in partnership with North Carolina Central University, but the plan did not work out.
Bradsher said she simply wants generations to come to Durham and had the same opportunities that her family had.
The public meeting with be held at the Monument of Faith Church at 7 p.m. Monday.