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Roger Williams Homes demolition begins

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After years of planning and a few delays, contractors have been given the go ahead to demolish the Roger Williams Homes on Simington Drive in MobileAll units have been vacant for over a year now, and demolition should be complete within the next two weeks. The $2.5 million process started this weekAlthough the appearance of the homes will change, the purpose behind them will remain the same. "The apartments are in their original state, so they haven't been renovated significantly since that timeSo now we're demolishing the entire complex with the hopes of putting in new housing which should be available by 2020, we anticipate," said Kimberly Pettway, Chair of The Mobile Housing Board.Nearby resident, Antyone Robertson said, "I hate to see it go because a lot of people have generations that were raised over thereSo it meant a lot to themBut it's also a good thing because they're going to tear it down and build new houses that'll probably make the community look a lot better." The Mobile Housing Board plans to build three different types of housing on the property with help from recent grantsThe new development will include a senior facility, multi-family complexes and single-family homes. James Harris has lived across the street from Roger Williams Homes for the past five years and looks forward to the change. Harris said, "I think that'll be a good aspect for the neighborhoodProbably bring some different blood in the neighborhood as well, and I think it's a good thing that they're taking something old and making something new out of it."City leaders hope this project opens the door for redevelopment in the area. Pettway said, "It's a win for the community members because they don't have to look at that everydayAlso, when you start to revitalize an area then it tends to boost the rest of the community to revitalize itselfSo hopefully that'll be a win-win as well."The homes were named after H. Roger Williams, a man honored for opening Mobile's first black-owned drugstore in 1901. The name of the complex will remain the same. City officials say it's important to maintain the culture of the community.All cont

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