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Residents concerned about renovations

By Juliana Valencia
Published On: Aug 23 2014 06:19:08 PM CDT
Updated On: Aug 23 2014 06:21:22 PM CDT
NEW BERN, CRAVEN COUNTY -

Saturday hundreds of people gathered at Big Field in Craven Terrace for Vision Forward's 10th annual Information Awareness Forum and Fun Day. The family event focuses on promoting success and career goals in the community. NewsChannel 12 stopped by to talk to residents about the future of Craven Terrace including a plan to renovate the decades old apartments.

The Housing Authority says there are about 40 empty apartments ready for residents once they begin renovations. However, most neighbors say they would rather see the area torn down and re-built.

Shirley Coat has lived in different apartments in Craven Terrace for almost 25 years. She said she enjoys living here, but her biggest concern is mold.

“This mold problem it’s not just in my apartment it’s in a lot of these apartments,” Coat said.

She says there is mold in her bedroom and kitchen.  She says the mold is affecting her health. Coat worries renovations will only cover-up the issues.

"They need to correct the stuff instead of just doing something to make it look good. They need to do it right," Coat said.

The Housing Authority says 360 Craven Terrace units will be renovated for around $80,000 each. This includes a brand new sewer system, new kitchens, and bathrooms among other things.

In an interview Wednesday, former New Bern Mayor Lee Bettis said he thinks the complex should be torn down and re-built.

"De-densification is the help they need. Redecorating isn't going to solve the problem of getting rid of the criminals who live there," said Bettis.

However, Coat and other residents’ say they do not think it is too packed compared to housing options like Trent Court.

NewsChannel 12 spoke to the Housing Authority Chair E.T. Mitchell earlier this week about completely tearing down the buildings.

Mitchell says something has to be done now and this is the best course of action while other long-term options continue to be considered.

"It is not a band-aid. It will improve the quality of life and it allows the housing authority to make substantial improvements in the residents’ lives today," said Mitchell.

The project still needs approval by HUD and the state department of environment and natural resources.