Nothing extra for Huntersville
Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 18, 2004
Vice Mayor Leroy Bennett’s efforts to jumpstart the revitalization of Huntersville with additional city funding nosedived Wednesday.
The blighted northern Suffolk neighborhood, in the heart of the rapidly growing Harbourview area, is slated to receive $50,000 in the 2005-2006 capital budget. Huntersville is the first in a string of neighborhoods that will be receiving funding for community improvements in future capital budgets.
Email newsletter signup
Bennett, after Wednesday’s public hearing on the capital budget, asked fellow council members to beef up the community’s allocation to $100,000.
&uot;This neighborhood is different than others (in the city),&uot; said Bennett. &uot;It is an area where everything has been forgotten for the past 30 years.
&uot;There is not much infill, …the community just about needs to be rebuilt.&uot;
Northern Suffolk developer Bob Williams has committed to helping with that rebuild, Bennett said. Williams has bought 10 lots in the neighborhood to rehab into affordable housing.
&uot;There are no city services out there…but he is willing to take that on,&uot; said Bennett, suggesting the extra funding could be used for much-needed infrastructure in Huntersville.
Bennett’s request followed appeals from two Huntersville residents, who said their community – while surrounded by massive residential and commercial development – has long been neglected by the city.
&uot;We are one of the oldest black communities in northern Suffolk,&uot; said Malachi Pork. &uot;We’ve come up here before council for almost 10
years now and haven’t had a sidewalk or anything put in the budget.&uot;
Several council members refused to support the proposal, saying it wouldn’t be fair to residents living in other dilapidated neighborhoods in the city.
&uot;We have got to be fair,&uot; said Councilman Charles Brown. &uot;&uot;If we deviate from the plan, we are going to have residents from Hobson and Saratoga lining up.
&uot;Huntersville has some of the most expensive land in the city,&uot; he said. &uot;Those residents don’t realize it but they are sitting on a gold mine. That property is the best we have in the city right now.&uot;
added that if he owned property in Huntersville, he would sell it and relocate.
Councilman Curtis Milteer said he &uot;would jump off the building&uot; before supporting Bennett’s proposal.
&uot;Let’s be fair,&uot; he said. &uot;Those people never come to downtown Suffolk. We have plenty of neighborhoods in Orlando and Saratoga that need help.&uot;
Councilman Linda T. Johnson supported Bennett’s proposal, with an added recommendation that city council members review the city’s borders and boroughs.
&uot;It’s a small request and it’s not going to break the bank,&uot; she said. &uot;…Huntersville has been overlooked for lot of years and that is reason enough to fund it.
&uot;If Huntersville was closer to the downtown core, we wouldn’t be having this discussion…And I don’t think it is us to us to tell people when its time to sell their houses and move.&uot;