Demolition of abandoned Sanford public housing underway

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SANFORD, Fla. —

Public housing in the Goldsboro area of Sanford has been vacant for about three years, since the Department of Housing and Urban Development found them to be in deplorable condition and relocated residents.

Demolition work on the Redding Gardens section is underway. Hundreds of people once populated that area. Redding Gardens is just one of several complexes that will be demolished.

Sanford resident Edna Gordon said she remembers when the now-abandoned buildings were converted to public housing decades ago.

She said she also remembers when HUD shut them down after Channel 9 Eyewitness News investigations found units with no heat, leaky roofs and in decay.

Gordon watched as the buildings were brought down. She said she will feel safer once the buildings are gone.

"If it's open it's more visible," said Gordon.

The 400-plus units of the Sanford Housing Authority will begin to come down on Aug. 22.
That demolition will cost $1.5 million.

When those building are gone the city of Sanford will be left with a 47-acre empty lot.

Andrew Thomas, Sanford senior project manager, said leaving the 47 acres undeveloped would not be the ideal situation.

"I think everyone would like to see and make every effort to move this along as quickly as possible," said Thomas.

To develop the land would take money the city doesn't have.

City representatives said they would eventually like to see the area as home to something like family townhomes and apartments, a community center and park.

Because the land is owned by the federal government any plans for the land would have to have government approval.

"I was hoping it wouldn't be years down the road," said Gordon.

The demolition of Redding Gardens is expected to be finished in October. The demolition of all the complexes could be done by early next year.

The city's next step is to gather input from the residents on what kind of affordable housing options they would like to see in the area.