ANDERSON, SC (WSPA)–Only on 7, We’re told $5.5 million will soon enhance an affordable housing community in the City of Anderson. Friendship Court, has experienced years of issues, including dozens of crimes.
The 80 unit housing community that was built in 1972, will get an entire face-lift.
“Every day I wake up and try to figure out how to get out of here, every single day,” said Kimiko Perkins, resident. “It’s scary. This is like, a lot of stuff happen out here, like people get robbed, shot, all of that so, walk into your house and it’s pitch black,” Perkins said.
Documents obtained by the county show, since July 2017, nearly 200 incident reports have been filed at the community, including robberies, shootings, and more. The documents also show–police calls at the complex have increased 95% since 2016. However, Perkins and others said their main issue has been with maintenance.
“A lot of stuff you have to do yourself, as if you live in a house or something,” Perkins said. “There’s no ceiling lights and in some of the rooms, there’s no switchers sometimes the plate is not even there. So that’s dangerous,” she said.
These are problems residents won’t have to deal with for long. Owners, ‘Related Affordable’, plans to invest the $5.5 million to put the community’s troubles at rest.
“So they wanted to invest in enhancing the interior of each of the 80 units, enhance the overall curb appeal of the property and the security infrastructure, to give the residents a safe and great place to live,” said Mary-Haley Thompson, Project Manager, with the City of Anderson Economic Development.
The City and County supports ‘Project Friendships Court’, and offered an incentive to make the project happen.
“Just with age, it needed a facelift in the interior, on the outside, and just some security measures to make the residents feel safe, so that was important to us for the residents specifically. But also the catalyst effect of the revitalization of Friendship Court. It may will spur other development around the area, which is a heavy residential area,” Mary-Haley said.
All new kitchens, bathroom appliances, fixtures, new roofing, windows, and lighting will be included. Security enhancements are also on the way, which will include surveillance cameras, new fencing, and flock safety license plate readers to detect incoming and outgoing guests. The flock safety system will alarm the City’s police department and Company, if and when felonious visitors enter and exit the premises.
“I know there has been a lot of negative things going on, but I think with this improvement, with this attitude, people will hopefully begin to look out for one another and it won’t be this negative of having to call the police or whatever,” said Dr. Beatrice Thompson, City of Anderson Councilmember, Seat Five.
Dr. Thompson said the revitalization will restore the rich heritage in this community.
“I am so delighted to see this project come into fruition because it’s going to mean so much to the residents in that community, and I’m hoping it will be a stimulus to bring back this family connection. It takes a village to raise a child,” Dr. Thompson said. “The infrastructure has been needing improvement for years. I hope this will encourage the residents, and of course the surrounding community, to keep this place looking great. A place to be proud of, a place to be a part of,” she added.
Overall, the City hopes this will bring back the pulse and heartbeat to the city’s urban core, and a safe place for residents to call home again.
“Hopefully, because they do need it. Hopefully they do everything that their supposed to do,” Perkins said.
Representatives with the City of Anderson, said the owners will develop a plan to accommodate each of the residents during construction. The City also said the owners have mentioned a rotating system among the 20 plus buildings, as well as providing outside accommodations at no expense to the residents.
Construction is set to begin in the Spring, and it’s expected to be done by the end of the year.