December 2, 2010
Work begins on rehab of MI College homes in Holly Springs
Groundbreaking for the refurbishing of Mississippi Industrial College Apartments on Woodward Avenue in Holly Springs drew a large crowd, including city officials, contractors, developers and the residents.
Monday, Nov. 22, at 2 p.m. the group assembled on the grounds of the apartment complex built in 1972 to celebrate the occasion and to look forward to community improvements that this project could spawn.
The restoration and redesign of the campus is made possible through a partnership with the City of Holly Springs and the Mississippi Development Authority. The housing complex is located in alderman Russell Johnson’s ward.
Most aldermen were present as well as the mayor and Rust College officials.
“In the end, it is about the tenants,” said Jason Spellings on behalf of Wishcamper Group.
Four tenants - Clemmie McFadden, Joyce Craine, Pat Hannah and Larry Boxley - have lived in the apartments since they were built.
Rick Wishcamper, president and CEO of Rocky Mountain Development Group, emphasized how the restoration of the 100-apartment complex will improve the safety and health of the community where people can raise their families.
“The success will depend on the tenants,” he said. “I hope this project can be a springboard to other communities and neighborhoods.”
Mayor Andre’ DeBerry said he decided something had to be done about the “deplorable conditions” of the apartments in 2009 on his campaign tour in the neighborhood.
“Nobody should have to live here,” he told one tenant whose apartment was flooded with water.
The project, once envisioned, developed rapidly this year beginning in an effort in March and April to acquire the property and find financing for a $4.5 million overhaul of the properties. In six months the city had obtained the property for $1 from Housing and Urban Development and sold it to Wishcamper Group for $1.
DeBerry said he believes the project will also spur growth.
“This project can be a turning point for this community,” the mayor said.
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