Former mayor helps dedicate Youngstown housing development - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Former mayor helps dedicate Youngstown housing development

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - Former Youngstown Mayor Jay Williams traveled from Washington to speak at the grand opening of The Village of Arlington.

It was 1938 when first lady Eleanor Roosevelt cut the ribbon to open Westlake Terrace, one of the first government housing projects in America.

It was a 3-million dollar endeavor by the city to eliminate a blight-ridden slum. But as it deteriorated over the years, crime and drugs became a major problem and a decision was made to demolish it. On Friday a new ribbon was cut for it's replacement the Village of Arlington.

"This was the final piece of the Village of Arlington, the last 218 units of the 618 original public housing units in the country" said Carmelita Douglas, Executive Director of the Youngstown Metropolitan Housing Authority.

The community offers modern 2-story apartments that are energy efficient. There is also a playground, a community center and many other features.

"There's a library area, there's a computer lab, all of the these things to enable the residents to move further in self sufficiency" Douglas said. 

Alice Freeman, who first moved in at Westlake Terrace in 1964, is amazed by the transformation.

"It's a blessing, and I was glad to see it after 49 years" said Freeman.

Former mayor Williams says Youngstown is no longer being defined by it's problems.

"When you talk about projects like this, the level of collaboration with public and private investment that is going to improve the quality of life for the residents here in this neighborhood, this community, it is what's being talked about when people talk about Youngstown" Williams said.

The Village of Arlington is a 20-million dollar project made possible through low income housing tax credits to the Youngstown Metropolitan Housing Authority in collaboration with the NRP Development Group of Cleveland.

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