Fayetteville transforming crime-ridden housing complexes into sought-after homes
Posted January 27, 2020 8:20 p.m. EST
Fayetteville, N.C. — A $100 million investment into affordable housing more than 10 years ago has reduced crime and violence in several Fayetteville neighborhoods.
Fayetteville won a $20 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Hope VI Program for distressed public housing in 2008 to tear down about 250 apartments in Campbell Terrace. Using the federal funds and money from the city, Cumberland County and a private developer, Fayetteville transformed the complex of cinder-block buildings built in the 1940s and 1950s into more than 640 townhouse-style apartments in seven housing areas jointly called Carolina Commons.
"I wouldn't bring my daughter down here," resident Gwen Locklear said, recalling how Campbell Terrace was overrun by drugs, crime and violence. "You come in the daytime, and you left before it got dark."
Locklear and others who moved into the new homes say the city turned what used to be considered "the hood" into a neighborhood.
"We're living in the lap of luxury, so to speak, compared to what it was," said Locklear, one of 48 residents who live in a special complex designed for seniors. "It's been nothing but just a 100 percent improvement of this place. Back in the day, people was trying to get out of it. ... Now, they're on a waiting list to get back in."
Mayor Mitch Colvin said crime and violence in the area are down as residents gained a sense of pride in their homes.
"We've received a real positive turnaround in that community," Colvin said. "If there are people that are bad actors that are in that community, [the residents] no longer stand for it, and the residents have taken ownership because they're proud of it verses being ashamed of where you live."
Fayetteville also knocked down the 210 apartments at Grove View Terrance near Cross Creek and is building more than 270 apartments in 18 two- and three-story buildings on the site, to be renamed Cross Creek Pointe Apartments. Grove View Terrace also was a crime-infested neighborhood, and Colvin said the city hopes to have the same success with the new homes there as it's had with Carolina Commons.