NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Dr. Ben Carson, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, was in Norfolk Thursday to tour housing developments.
Carson toured areas such as the Grandy Village Apartments and Learning Center. He expected to talk with Mayor Kenny Alexander about areas of the city that could qualify as “opportunity zones.”
According to HUD, opportunity zones are designed to encourage investment in disadvantaged communities.
On a tour guided by Mayor Kenny Alexander, Carson received a first hand look at what Norfolk has to offer and what needs work.
10 On Your Side toured with him through the Grandy Village Learning Center, a 44-acre assisted rental property that’s transforming into a mixed-income community.
It’s just one of several stops on his tour of Norfolk. Other areas areas included Broad Creek, which is a redevelopment of the Roberts Village, and Bowling Green public housing communities.
“They can be used for a variety of different investments,” said Carson. “One of the things that impressed me most driving around the city with the mayor was I didn’t see large amounts of blight like I’ve seen in other cities.”
Carson praised the City of Norfolk for strides in the area of public housing, including the resolution passed by city council in late January to overhaul 1,700 units in Calvert Square, Tidewater Gardens and Young Terrace neighborhoods. According to the city, its a 10-year plan to replace areas with mixed-incoming housing.
“The overall plan is very well thought out. It’s something that will garner a lot of support and I think it will likely be included in the opportunity zone,” Carson said.