SANFORD, Fla. - The city of Sanford celebrated on Monday a new beginning marked by the demolition of the Redding Gardens apartment complex.
"We've got to get this taken care of. We've got to get this eyesore out of our community," said Mayor Jeff Triplett.
In 2010, the Orlando Housing Authority took control of HUD properties in Sanford, but it was too late to repair or refurbish them, so hundreds of resident were forced to relocate.
The units were crime-ridden, dilapidated and infested with dangerous mold, officials said.
Three years later $2.3 million in debt has been paid, and the city said it is ready for a new start marked by the pending demolition of Redding Gardens. City leaders now look to the future they say they'll be proud to pass to their children
"There used to be a real dump here, now look at it. And it was because of wise people that all worked together," Commissioner Mark McCarty said.
The 100 units deemed unlivable are going to go first, but there are five other properties and another 380 units that will be bulldozed next.
Now, the demolition is finally underway, and the destruction will mark a re-start of the Sanford Housing Authority.
City leaders said the past will not repeat itself.
"I don't care what income level you are, you should not have to have that standard," said Triplett.
When demolition is complete, the mayor hopes brand-new housing will go up to serve the city's low-income senior citizens.
On Monday, fences went up around the property. Heavy equipment is expected to begin demolition later this week.