09/09/04 — Parkstown project nears end

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Parkstown project nears end

By Matt Shaw
Published in News on September 9, 2004 2:00 PM

Wayne County is nearing the end of the Parkstown project, but one neighbor asked this week if it's truly been neighborhood revitalization.

"I thought revitalization meant improving what is there," John Jackson said to county commissioners Tuesday. "We've had people move out and houses torn down, some that weren't even dilapidated in my opinion."

Jackson, a LaGrange Road resident, worried that the vacant lots could become weedy and trashy.

"I've lived in the community all my life and I'm concerned about this," he said.

Project manager David Harris replied that the county has helped people get out of homes, including aged single-wide trailers, that would have been too costly to repair.

But he also noted that the county has an interest in limiting the number of people living in the Seymour Johnson Air Force Base flight zone, which includes the project area at Parkstown Road and Sam's Lane.

Some people have moved to Smith's Woods, a nearby subdivision that is outside the flight zone, Harris said. "They're tickled to death."

He noted that two homes have been repaired and work will soon be completed on a third.

Some of the vacant property now owned by the county could be returned to use. Some may be sold to neighboring homeowners to expand their lots, while a church is interested in using some for parking.

But Commissioner Arnold Flowers suggested giving any appropriate land to Habitat for Humanity of Wayne County.

"Vacant land is not in the best interest of the county," Flowers said. "Habitat for Humanity is a good organization and would make good use of this land."

The county received a $700,000 federal grant through the Community Development Block Grant program last year.

The commissioners hired RSM Harris Associates Inc. to manage the project. The project will be completed by December.

In sum, nine households will have been relocated and three will have been repaired. Twelve lots will be cleared.