WV Public Broadcasting Staff
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Fri March 7, 2014
City of Huntington Works to Revitalize Fairfield Area
One area of Huntington will soon see demolition and construction that could go a long way towards changing the city’s reputation.
A plan to tear down and rebuild housing in the Fairfield area of Huntington has gotten the green light. One of the oldest housing units under the care of the Huntington Housing Authority, Northcott Court, will be demolished. Huntington Mayor Steve Williams recently made the announcement during his State of the City Address that Northcott will be torn down in favor of two new 40-unit senior housing complexes and an additional 50-single family and duplex housing units.
They will move the current residents to suitable housing nearby. The new will be scattered throughout the area and not all concentrated in one place like the Northcott facilities. Once Northcott is torn down city officials hope there will be commercial development on the property.
The relocation process has already started for some residents and will pick up in the spring. The Housing Authority was passed over by the federal government for funds to start the process over the summer, but now has the go ahead. Sandra Clements is the Councilwoman for the 5th district which includes the Fairfield area where Northcott Court is located. She said the demolition is just one step in the revitalization effort.
“I want to see the area revitalized, I want people to come back to Fairfield and feel comfortable and feel that it is their community and that they can make it grow,” Clements said. “There are lots of things that need to happen in order for that to continue, not just housing, we need to have jobs, things going on in the community that will attract people and keep them here and want them to take pride in their community,” Clements said.
Northcott Court has become synonymous, fairly or unfairly with crime in Huntington and more directly crime in the Fairfield area of the city. Clements said this revitalization could mean so much for the neighborhood.
“I think that whenever you talk about projects or public housing, people have the image of crime, people not working and people not wanting to work,” Clements said. “And I think moving Northcott Court will help to dissipate some of that feeling.”
Since the 1940’s Northcott Court has been one of the first things people see as they drive into the city from the Hal Greer exit off interstate 64.
The area has already been rezoned for commercial development and Huntington Mayor Steve Williams says the city hopes one of the businesses that moves in along Hal Greer Boulevard is a grocery store.
“The Huntington Housing Authority will seek to attract a private developer to redevelop the Northcott property,” Williams said. “More than $60 million of investment is projected to occur in the Fairfield neighborhood as a result of these efforts.”
The Housing Authority will cover moving costs of those in the Northcott Court facilities and hopes to have all tenants relocated by the end of May.