The Greenwood Area Habitat for Humanity plans to use $825,000 in state funding to demolish blighted properties in the North Edgefield neighborhood located just west of downtown Greenwood.
The funding from the S.C. State Housing Authority will be used to purchase, demolish and turn 26 properties into green space with the potential to develop after a three-year maintenance time.
Chad Charles, executive director of Habitat Greenwood, said the North Edgefield project is the first undertaking that is part of a revitalization plan the organization worked out with area residents to transform and provide a “sense of community among homeowners, while connecting them to the resources and recreation that downtown Greenwood offers.”
He said state funding will pay for approximately 90% of the demolition costs and the city of Greenwood has pledged $75,000 to the project. Habitat Greenwood will be responsible for remaining costs for demolition and greening. Habitat will own the 26 properties and be responsible for maintaining them for three years.
“We can decide then what the final use will be,” Charles said. “A majority of those will remain green space for the three years and some we hope to develop but we don’t know which ones those will be just yet.”
The 26 parcels are just one part of a larger revitalization project in North Edgefield that the city and Habitat Greenwood are working together on.
“We’ve also purchased a 40-unit abandoned apartment complex in the same neighborhood and we plan to put in a single-family dwelling subdivision,” Charles said. “It is a lot of moving parts and we don’t have a lot of staff.”
Presently, Habitat Greenwood has three full-time staff and two part-time between administration and construction. Charles said the group’s board of directors approved hiring two more positions. The city helped secure a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant to help with the costs associated with the apartment complex.
“We have a very large, dedicated group of volunteers that work with us and the city is really helping to facilitate this,” Charles said. “It is a true partnership between us, the city and the residents.”
Greenwood City Manager Charlie Barrineau said the North Edgefield project is a way to transform a downtown neighborhood and an “opportunity to jumpstart residential growth as a whole.”
“Very little has changed in terms of downtown residential development in the past few decades,” Barrineau said. “If we can bring safe housing that is walkable to our growing downtown district, that will be a vision realized and will pave the way for future development.”
Habitat Greenwood has until December to complete the demolition and greening of the 26 properties in in the North Edgefield community. Charles said they plan to start demolition in April. He said six properties have been approved by the state and bidding for asbestos removal and abatement will start in the near future.