The transformation process is underway at one of Louisville’s public housing developments. About 20 percent of the residents at Beecher Terrace have already moved out to make way for a new project in the Russell neighborhood.
Some have to be out by September.
“For me, I’m content right here where I’m at, I would rather stay in this apartment,” said Starla Dean, who has lived in Beecher Terrace for the past seven years.
Like many of her neighbors, Dean is having a tough time facing the reality of moving out. “It’s really difficult especially trying to get out on the bus looking at different locations and not knowing who is going to accept your Section 8 and who’s not,” said Dean.
Officials with the Louisville Metro Housing Authority said about 150 of the 758 units at Beecher Terrace are already vacant, with more people moving out everyday.
“We’ll start demolition as soon as most everybody is gone, demolishing buildings,” said Tim Barry, Louisville Metro Housing Authority director.
After demolition, 640 new housing units will be built, including mixed income rental, as well as options to buy.
“It’s good they’re going do that, but the memories that everybody is going to have being here as long as me,” said Anthony McElroy, who has lived in the complex since 1998.
He said despite the neighborhood’s sometimes troubled reputation, it’s the only home he’s ever known. “It feels good to leave, but at the same time, I’m going to miss my neighborhood, this is where I grew up,” he said.
A company called Urban Strategies works with every family on site if they need help finding alternative public or affordable housing.
The Russell project is expected to be complete within 7 to 10 years.