This Taking Back Our Neighborhoods report takes us back to a community that was all but dead because of blight.
3 On Your Side was contacted two years ago by residents who were determined to see something done about Garden Circle off Englewood Drive.
To say conditions there in 2010 were nightmarish would be an understatement. Today, the transformation could only be described as a dream.
It was March 2010 we first showed you Englewood Garden Circle off Englewood Street. At the time, Myra Thomas was a 35-year resident who was fed up with what she saw happening to her neighborhood.
Thomas said, "Garden Circle is a dumping area; yeah, I mean fast as they clean it up, they re-dumps again."
The amount of garbage and blight was staggering on this little street. Back then, I asked Thomas if she was hopeful her community would ever come back.
She replied, "Oh yeah, it's going to come back, yeah, and I'm going to be right here to see it."
Her confidence and determination paid off. This is what Thomas and others who live on Englewood Street see now. Garden Circle is now lined with freshly built Habitat homes and manicured yards. The sounds of construction...music to the ears of residents. Some of the workers live nearby and they say garden circle has become a source of pride.
Douglas Smith, a roofer, said, "Habitat houses be great for the kids. They can have something to look forward to more than just run down houses."
Detrick Gibson, an electrician, said, "I tell you one thing, it's a beauty, ain't it? It's a beauty I mean it's came a long way and hopefully it'll help the neighbors feel more confident in what they got."
It took Habitat for Humanity just nine months to transform this former illegal dumping ground into a neighborhood of 25 homes and for Englewood Gardens residents who suffered through the bad times, like Myra Thomas, today's Garden Circle is a dream come true.
This Wednesday, October 24th, at 1 p.m., there will be a special dedication ceremony for Englewood Gardens. Congressman Bennie Thompson and Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann will join Mayor Harvey Johnson and other dignitaries for the event and I will be there, too.
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