The city celebrated the removal of a decades-old nuisance property Saturday with the groundbreaking for a new affordable home in the Campground community.
The new residence, which will be built using federal HOME funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, will be made available for rent to families of four making no more than $27,550 in annual income, or to buy to families of four making no more than $44,100 per year, city spokeswoman Laura Byrne said.
The proposed home replaces what was described in 2015 by then Mobile Police Department Chief James Barber as an “open-air drug market.” That “market” had been in operation more than 40 years, according to a statement from Mayor Sandy Stimpson’s office.
Two years ago, the city demolished the structure at 1076 State St., where more than 650 drug transactions had been documented by MPD in two months. Officers arrested 13 people for trafficking and possession of illegal drugs at the location in 2015.
“This is a significant milestone in the Campground community,” Stimpson said. “After walking through this very block with Chief Barber, I made a promise to the neighborhood that I would come back to change it for the better.
“I remain committed to that promise. We will continue to work in this community until it is restored to its historic significance,” he added.
Councilman Levon Manzie, who represents the Campground area, said he hopes the new 1,800-square-foot, three-bedroom, two-bath home will help spark further revitalization of the area.
“This area is prime for revitalization,” he said. “This house helps transform it. It’s an awesome opportunity.”
Manzie said he hopes the city will continue its partnership with MLK Avenue Redevelopment Corp. and its executive director, Michael Pierce, to continue to revitalize the neighborhood.
While the lot where the structure once stood is now empty, construction should begin within the next few weeks, with the new home completed within the next year, Byrne said.