It's been a long time coming, but a start to the residential portion of a massive redevelopment project in downtown Lexington is visible. Federal, state, and local officials all hailed the community land trust's affordable housing initiative today.
As the two-by-fours go up for rental housing in what used to be the Davis Bottom community, the reality of a new home sank in for 13-year-old Summer Roe. "When they first started this, I was like, no we're not, that's not gonna happen. But, now where I see them building, and building, and building every single day, I'm like so surprised that it's really gonna happen," said Roe.
Summer and her mother Daisy were residents along DeRhodee street until old worn houses were torn down to make way for the Newtown Pike Extension. Temporary housing in the form of trailers were parked for what became years of waiting. While some former Davis Bottom residents moved away, Daisy Roe stayed close. "The Demus', I've know them all my life. I've known Cooper, Larry Cooper. I've known the Wilsons, they're gone but this is family. I feel comfortable and secure here, you know," said Roe.
Roe says she first heard about the possibility of the move ten years ago. Millions of dollars in federal money has flowed into the revitalization project. Jose Sepulveda (suh-PULV-uh-DA) is with the Federal Highway Administration. "Bureacracy sometimes got in our way and we found a way, sometimes around it, over it, and if necessary through it," said Sepulveda.
A half-dozen residents like the Roes are expected to move into the newly-developed Davis Park View rental units this fall. There are plans to eventually have a hundred rental and owner occupied residences on land owned by the community land trust.