Demolition project in Jacksonville makes room for improvement

Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — The City of Jacksonville held a ceremony Monday to mark its 150th demolition as part of its Green & Clean Jacksonville and Neighborhood Revitalization efforts.

From city officials to the family who owns the property, the consensus seems to be that this demolition is bittersweet. They said as they watched these structures go they felt a bit sad, but it was time to make way for a better future.

 “A lot of fond memories. We raised our gardens. We had hogs,” said property owner Rose Henderson-Adams.

Along with her sisters, she remembers being raised on the land where her grandfather built these houses, they say somewhere around 80 years ago.

 “It has a lot of history.  Oh, our grandparents. They knew how to live off the land. And our granddad was one of the first people private can’t legitimate the boiler. So we built these houses, all of them,” said Jackie Henderson-Cummings, one of the sisters and landowners.

The project allows property owners to receive grant money from the city, which will pay for all the demolition costs.  

“The elimination of slum and blight, we take dilapidated structures that are beyond 50% of being able to repair and we offer a demolition grant to the owners of the property,” said Tracy Jackson, the director of Neighborhood Improvement Services for the City of Jacksonville.

City Councilman Brian Jackson said growing up in Jacksonville, he did feel a bit mournful seeing the buildings go, but it was time.

“When the families can’t put money into these old structures, and then they’re not safe. Anyway, you can’t do much to them. It really saves the taxpayers money. And also, it allows the beautification of the city to go forward,” said Jackson.

Jackson even got to take a swing at tearing down the building.

“So for to be an adult to be able to sit into one of these machines, and actually put it on a structure. It’s every boy’s dream, you know,” he said.

Property owners can still apply for grant money from the city to demolish structures.

City officials say the property owners will decide what’s next for the land. The family says they aren’t completely sure yet, but they are excited to contribute to the improvement of the area they love.

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