Making Room for Bigger, Better, Safer Housing in GlassboroLast Edited:
An area in Gloucester County that has seen plenty of crime over the years and has become an eyesore for the local community will soon be no more.
On Thursday, May 11th, local government officials and residents in Glassboro celebrated the first of 30 buildings in a housing development being knocked down to make room for something bigger, better, and safer.
“I’m sure in the day, it was state of the art and it was a great community,” said Dan Christy, Gloucester County Freeholder. "But over the years it’s become dilapidated, run down."
By the end of August, every single building will be knocked down, which one long-time resident described as bittersweet.
“It’s a lot of great memories, but it was also a lot of bad memories,” said Shelia Gresham, a former resident of Ellis Manor. "There was a lot of crime in the area, and you fear for your kids' life as well as your own life."
As a resident of the apartments for about three decades, Gresham says she saw the ups and downs of the neighborhood.
“People [were] upset because there was so much crime around here," said Gresham. "People have houses around here, and some people were trying to sell their houses, and when there’s crime in the area, it brings down the value of your home.”
In 2013, the Gloucester County Housing Authority started to relocate the last of the residents who lived throughout the 30 decaying buildings. The Housing Authority, along with the State Housing and Urban Development Office, deemed that the cost of maintaining the buildings was too high.
Local government officials celebrated the start of the new project.
“We’re going to have a brand-new facility, housing 65 senior apartments and 15 for developmentally disabled adults," said Christy. "[They] are going to be able to live here in a state-of-the-art, very high-end, high-quality place for them to live, as they should in these communities.”
The $1,639,000 project does not have an opening date set yet, but kicking the project off brought plenty of smiles along with the hope for a better, safer Glassboro.
“I think this is going to be a great service to the area, and I’m so excited that this is really going to come back,” said Gresham. “I can’t wait.”
“Taking on projects like this, where you have areas that are crime ridden, and cleaning them up and making sure that the residents are safe within their communities, is so important to us as freeholders in all of our municipalities,” said Christy.
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