SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – The relocating of a housing project in Spartanburg has had delays, leaving some residents upset.
Moving families from the apartments at Norris Ridge to the Robert Smalls at Midtowne Heights Townhomes started during the pandemic, and is still not complete. The developer said 40 families have been moved, but there are still around 80 left.
“You feel like society’s throwaway,” said June Bethel.
Redeveloping the Norris Ridge site in Spartanburg has taken longer than expected.
“There have been some delays beyond the control of the developer, beyond the control of those families that live there, and beyond the control of the city,” said the Assistant City Manager, Mitch Kennedy.
“We’ve had delays in critical components in the construction process, that are critical to the infrastructure that has to go in that we can be able to move people from Norris Ridge to Robert Smalls,” said developer Ralph Settle.
Settle said Equity Plus took on this project right as COVID hit, and it has caused unforeseen delays in moving families.
“Parts are harder to find, pieces are harder to find, large and small,” explained Settle. “I don’t think it’s anybody’s intent for this to take longer than it has. It’s just unfortunate that pieces aren’t sitting on shelves like they were two years ago.”
Kennedy said residents who live at the apartments are at least 40% below the area’s median income level. He said the city’s part is being an advocate for the families.
“We’ve received bad news about the delays and have had to work with the developer, work with our partners at United Way to notify families,” said Kennedy. “‘Yeah, we thought you were going to move this month, now you’re not.’ That, unfortunately, has been a reoccurring theme.”
He said the first wave of families were moved to the new development in fall of 2021.
“18 months later, there are some families that have moved to this date. But we still have a large number of families that have not,” he said.
June Bethel is one of the residents that hasn’t moved yet. She said her most current move out date was scheduled for February 21-23.
“That has yet to happen. So, this is actually my fourth move out date,” said Bethel.
All packed up and ready to go, Bethel said the apartment is not livable.
“It’s hard enough when you barely have anything, anyway. Then you have to get rid of your possessions because you can’t move them to a new location because of the roach problem,” she said.
She said she’s been staying with family and friends, waiting for her turn.
“At what point are these management companies going to take responsibility and do all that they can to fulfill their promises that they’re making to us?” said Bethel.
Officials said the finish line is in sight.
“This is not a situation of broken promises to the families,” said Kennedy. “We have been briefed in the last week, or so, that there will be another wave of families moved in the next few weeks.”
“No one is more motivated than us to get the families that are at Norris Ridge into more adequate, safe housing that they deserve. We’re doing it as quickly as we can,” said Settle.
For those interested, there will be a community meeting Tuesday at 11 a.m. at the Reverend Thornton Activity Center.
Kennedy said they do have people with United Way readily available to help residents with case management. The United Way hotline is 211.