Dream come true - Frog City residents excited about housing development
Maxfield Park, better known as 'Frog City', could easily be labelled as one of the most impoverished inner-city communities in the country with dirt roads, zinc fences and broken-down homes with outside kitchens and toilets.
For years, the residents waited with bated breath for a positive change, and finally their prayers have been answered with the $810-million Maxfield Park Housing Project.
It is the first project under the Community Renewal Programme administered by the National Housing Trust (NHT).
Full-scale infrastructure work is to begin in March 2019 with construction on the first set of housing solutions set for October.
Phyllis Nelson, 68, who has lived in Frog City for more than 30 years, said she is overly excited by the impending transformation and hopes that her family will get one of the houses.
"A over 20 years me hear say it did a go happen and me glad me a live to see it happen" she said.
Nelson lives in a tenement yard with a number of relatives, some of whom are unemployed. She worries that they may be homeless for a while.
"Me still a wonder if we a go get a house, God know, because this one here was given to us by the government when Gilbert did blow down the house. Me na throw NHT and my kids na throw so me a wonder if we a go get. Plus, me no know whe me a go go when the time come fi dem lick down di houses," she said.
Her son Anthony Chambers said they were told that they would be given temporary homes on an open lot named Tarrant close by. But he felt many persons would not feel comfortable there.
"Good thing is that dem tell we from early but a no all a we have anywhere to go. The housing a do good for the place but it also a stop 'food' for some because nuff a the likkle yute dem bout the place make dem lunch money off the scrap metal business and that a go stop now, but you have to lose some to win some ya," he said.
Like several other inner-city communities, residents of Frog City do not pay utility bills.
However, they said they are all willing to pay for the resources like electricity and water once they acquire their new homes because the new homes are like a dream come true.
Along with the 210 units, the NHT further proposes that the housing solutions be developed using the Skills System model, which matches the type of housing solution according to the needs of the homeowners and their level of affordability. Beneficiaries will be provided with technical expertise and financing through the NHT.
Residents thanked the NHT for giving them an opportunity to contribute so that they may amass enough points by the time the homes are ready. But they wanted first choice at the homes.
"We live round here when it really bad so we would wa live in it when di place look nice and clean," one woman said.