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Tidewater Gardens residents protest HUD visit over redevelopment plans

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NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — As government officials visited Norfolk to learn more about the city’s redevelopment plans, some local residents protested.

A group of public housing residents gathered outside the Kroc Center Tuesday morning in hopes of getting answers to their questions.

The visit was held for officials because Norfolk is one of four finalists for a HUD Choice Neighborhood Initiative Grant.

If Norfolk is selected for the grant, it’d receive up to $30 million, and the St. Paul’s Revitalization Project will get started sooner rather than later. 

This plan would tear down three public housing communities — Young Terrace, Young Park and Tidewater Gardens, and build mixed income housing, businesses, and open spaces in the lots.

Last month, residents sent HUD letters asking them to keep the grant money.

Residents say they’re hearing a lot of misinformation about the project and want answers.

“At first I was ecstatic because I was under the impression they were going to relocate us, build it up, and let us back in because we’re like family down there,” said Tammy Shepherd.

Shepherd lives in Tidewater Gardens, which will be the first community demolished.

She says residents are getting a lot of different information about the relocation process and if they will be allowed to move back in once the project is complete.

“It’s why we’re out here protesting. That’s why we’re trying to find out facts. We go to one meeting, it’s one thing. We go to another, it’s another thing. No one is addressing the issue at hand,” Shepherd said.

Residents say a lot of elderly people also live in the community and many want to stay. They also say they won’t be able to afford housing if they decide not to take vouchers officials have told them will be provided.

Marquitta White, who is the president of Tidewater TMC, says they want concrete answers from people, in writing, so they know the plans moving ahead.

“Have integrity. I understand people have a position and a job today but at the end of the days, it’s your integrity that will stand,” White said.

Last month NRHA told 10 On Your Side’s Brett Hall that the city has said, “If you don’t have new housing by [your move out day], then you stay where you are,” according to project spokesperson Barbara Hamm. “It means that we will work with you until we find you suitable housing, Nobody is going to be kicked out on the street. That will do no good for anyone, not for the city of Norfolk not for NRHA.”

A city official told 10 On Your Side that they could find out as early as mid-April if they are selected for the grant.

Even if the city does not receive the grant, the project will move forward.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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