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Orange Grove Renovation and HOPE VI


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Mobile seeks Katrina grant to finish renovation of Orange Grove public housing

Mobile is pursuing a Hurricane Katrina recovery grant to finish renovation of the Orange Grove public housing community and to elevate 14 flood-prone buildings there. The renovations will improve the appearance of the barracks-style buildings, increase living space by combining smaller units, add dormers to the roofs and expand porches.

Orange Grove, just north of downtown near Interstate 165, is adjacent to two other public housing communities, Albert F. Owens Homes and Jesse Thomas Homes, which will be demolished and redeveloped with a HOPE VI grant.

These communities have been lousy places to live and eyesores for years at one of the major gateways to downtown Mobile. I'd rather see all three torn down and replaced with a HOPE VI project, but two out of three isn't bad.

Mobile Press-Register: City seeking Katrina grant to elevate Orange Grove buildings

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I will say (as a libertarian against all social welfare) that the HOPE VI projects have been perhaps the most successful venture of government into housing. In Atlanta they tore down their projects near downtown and put up many blocks of HOPE VIs and while it is not "urban" it still has the appearance of it (fronts street, with interior parking). And they seem to be much better quality and maintained better. I think after 50 years of subsidized and public housing the government finally learned at least a few lessons.

Though I would call the Atlanta projects a success (relative to past of course) I will say they do have a problem, which is a good one. The land is being filled in with highrises all around it and the land is being underutilized with 4 story apartment/townhome style housing, when the market wants to build 40 story skyscrapers.

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I'd love to see a moderately dense mixed-use development built in the tracts of land immediately north of Downtown. A landscaped communal park or some other open space could serve as the central focus of the development. A small-scale, pedestrial friendly, supermarket-anchored shopping center (with rear parking) would front Beauregard Street. A massive regional park, featuring a high quality zoo, would be developed on the land adjacent to Three Mile Creek and I-165.

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