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The Voice of the Black Community

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Durham CAN wants city to retake property
 
Published Thursday, April 20, 2017
by Bonitta Best

DURHAM – Over 400 delegates of Durham Congregations Associations and Neighborhoods will meet with city officials Monday to discuss the future of Fayette Place.

Durham CAN is a grassroots network of affiliates whose mission is to provide affordable opportunities for low-income families. The meeting will be held at Monument of Faith Church, 900 Simmons St., at 7 p.m.

Fayette Place was previously owned by the Durham Housing Authority but has been vacant and unattended since the DHA sold the property in 2007 for $4 million to Philadelphia-based Campus Apartments. The sale was finalized with a legal promise to build affordable housing for North Carolina Central students. The agreement includes a provision that allows the DHA to repurchase the property before August if Campus Apartments did not provide a minimum of 168 beds for NCCU students or low-income individuals.

“Campus Apartments have demonstrated they lack interest and vision for this property and our community,” said Bishop Clarence Laney, pastor of Monument of Faith Church. “Their lack of interest has left the largest undeveloped property in the city. One can be sure this kind of neglect doesn't happen at the rest of their luxury properties across the U.S.”

Durham CAN is demanding that the DHA use its legal right to repurchase the property to provide affordable housing for Durham residents.

“It is a disgrace that a for-profit company from out of town is even given a chance to hold the future of this entire community hostage,” First Chronicles pastor William Lucas said. “They should donate the property to Durham for the construction of affordable housing. We are calling on Alan Wortwitz, founder and CEO of Campus Apartments, to do the right thing and donate the property.”

Last month, residents walked through the neighborhood to document problem areas such as city-owned vacant houses, flooded homes and more. Resident Brenda McCoy Bradsher said she feels the city doesn’t care about her neighborhood.

“It seems like because we are here in the black community that it is not important to them,” Bradsher, 70, said. “They are redoing downtown and have invested millions there, but it seems like when it gets down to our neighborhood, it doesn’t bother them anymore.

“Our vision for rebuilding this community is not limited to the development of Fayette Place. We want decision makers to also act on the largest items we identified through the neighborhood audit.”

Durham Housing Authority CEO Anthony Scott, along with several city council members, have confirmed their attendance at the meeting.

 

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