Valdosta Revitalizes Blighted Neighborhoods

By: Gabrielle Sarann Email
By: Gabrielle Sarann Email

As construction crews trucked in new roofing at 708 East Adair Street, homeowner Mary Jackson couldn't believe her eyes.

"I can't find any words for it," said Jackson. "I'm 51 and it's my first brand new home. And God is good."

Her home is well on its way thanks to an $800,000 grant from the Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB) awarded to the City of Valdosta.

Jackson added, "I kept it clean and kept it up to par as much as I could," And patched it up as much as I could. But I couldn't do what needed to be done. So, they had to tear it down."

Back in November, Jackson's home was bulldozed to make way for a new one that meets code and isn't a hazard like another recently demolished home on Oliver Street.

And now 47 other homes in the West Side, Pinevale and Tom Town neighborhoods will get a full makeover.

At no cost to the homeowner.

"We perform an inspection on that home," said Richard Joyner, the rehabilitation construction coordinator for the City of Valdosta. "And if that home owner is qualified for our program, then we qualify them for rehabilitation or reconstruction."

But hundreds of Valdosta homes are substandard and look like the one on Monroe Street.

So, what's the final product? Check out the yellow house just a few doors down that's modern and brand new.

City officials visit these sites almost daily to make sure everything goes according to plan.

It's a reassurance Jackson thanks God for every day.

"I would walk the area and just pray," recounted Jackson."[I'd] walk from fence to fence. And [say] God what am I gonna do? How am I gonna fix this house? And look what he did. He's given me a brand new home."

Contractors will put up the walls for Jackson's home tomorrow at 8 a.m.

To qualify, residents must meet income and homeowner requirements and live in an area that's designated as a revitalization area.

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