Demo crews begin work on Iberville Housing Development - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Demo crews begin work on Iberville Housing Development

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New Orleans, La. - The Iberville Housing Development is the last of the conventional public housing sites in the city.

"Once it's gone, there won't be any more like it again anywhere," said HANO Administrator David Gilmore.

Sixteen of the Iberville's existing buildings will be saved, gutted and rebuilt. Meanwhile, demolition has already begun on 59 of the 75 buildings on the site.

Gilmore calls it significant progress.

"It's something new and exciting for the residents and for the city," he said.

"The Iberville plan is really a transformational piece," said Mayor Mitch Landrieu. "We received a national grant to do that with the ‘Choice Neighborhood Effort'. The Saenger Theater is opening in a couple of weeks and the neighborhood has really undergone a major transformation."

Community activist Malcolm Suber believes the demolition is a positive thing, but he said there are concerns among former tenants.

Many families have already been relocated off-site with Section 8 vouchers.

"You really feel for the people who are going to be displaced from the place that they've called home all of their lives," Suber said.

Suber said families worry if they'll be able to return, but Gilmore insists that isn't a problem.

"There's an open invitation to the residents to come back home at some point when the site is finished," he said.

Landrieu said the new Iberville will become part of a much bigger footprint to revitalize the area and create a better environment for it's residents.

"It's important to get health care, which is why health care clinics are in the area," Landrieu said. "It's important to get the education right, which is why the schools in Treme are really important, and then you have this housing. All of that will come together to create a really safe place for people to live."

Phase I and II of the project will include about 200 new units. Those phases are expected to be complete in December 2014.

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