Some Gulfport public housing residents are watching their neighborhood shrink. The Region 8 Housing Authority plans to tear down more than half the units within Camelot Apartments on 28th Street as part of its modernization plan which includes fewer people and more breathing room.
Dorothy Blackmon can't wait for her granddaughter Kelsey to have the all room she needs to run and play with the other neighborhood children.
"I would love to see the community getting together as one," said Blackmon. "We get together and we do things out here like have a block party or do more for the children out here".
Region 8 officials say families will benefit with more green space and more parking. when six multi story buildings are torn down. Officials believe with 34 units gone there will be also be less potential for crime.
Jessie Billups is spokesperson for the Region 8 Housing Authority. "When you have large buildings like this where a lot of people are staying in a close proximity, it just naturally has an accumulation of loitering or standing around. Sometimes that presents an appearance of problems."
Camelot isn't the only complex undergoing changes. Throughout the district, renovations inside and out are designed to make public housing look like any other neighborhood.
"The ultimate goal of Region 8 is to make all our unit just like any other unit on the outside or on the open market," said Billups. "We want to have someone come in and say look I'm not living in public housing, I'm living in an apartment. My apartment is just like any other apartment anywhere in this area."
Meanwhile Blackmon looks forward to a new walking track and more. "It will be nice. We're going to have benches sitting outside so we can watch the children when they're outside playing."
Another plus for tearing down the old buildings is the addition of central heat and air. The housing authority says installation would have been too expensive in the multi-story units