SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – Spartanburg took the first step Monday night toward major changes for two neighborhoods.
Spartanburg City Council voted unanimously in favor of tearing down and replacing Norris Ridge Apartments, an area that’s been riddled by crime.
Nobody would say it on camera but no less than five residents who 7News spoke with at Norris Ridge on Monday all said “tear ’em down.”
Late Monday evening council members agreed the apartments will be demolished but a lot needs to be done before they bring in the bulldozers.
Across the board, Spartanburg City Council members voted in favor of taking the initial steps that will ultimately lead to the demolition of Norris Ridge Apartments.
City Manager Chris Story said before they can start knocking down buildings, new apartments and townhomes will be built about a mile away on Wofford Street from the current location near The Beacon.
“It essentially allows us to take the next step to working with a developer to replace and build 190 new apartments,” Story said.
Councilman Jerome Rice, who represents District 5, said, “It’s an outstanding opportunity for the families to get a fresh start.”
Rice is aware of the crime that’s happened in the area for years but he believes this new way forward will help deter violence in the community.
“Studies will show when you put a high concentration of low income families or under educated people in the same area that sometimes that produces crime,” said Rice.
Since the plan calls for the new development on Wofford Street to be made up of mixed income families, Rice said, better times are ahead.
“You know how you feel when you get something new. You get that new car or that new home. I just think people will take so much more pride in my apartment or townhome once I move there,” said Rice.
Both Rice and Story acknowledged the transition will be somewhat of an upheaval for the families impacted and that’s why they promised stakeholders in the community will be there to hold residents’ hands every step of the way.
“People are number one. The physical facilities are number two,” said Story.
Story also said they’ll get a full design and full financial package over the next few months.
Residents at Norris Ridge do have options.
Story said if they choose not to pursue a new home at the future site on Wofford Street they’ll be given portable vouchers to be used toward other housing options.