Walter P. Taylor demolition set to begin

Jodasia Jones has lived most of her life in the Walter P. Taylor low-income housing development in Knoxville. But she said living there isn't easy.

"Oh it's a lot of crime. They shoot every night. Every night it never fails, you hear gunshots out here. And it could be for no reason - they're just shooting in the air," said Jones.

To help with that, Knoxville's Community Development Corporation is tearing down 183 of walter P.'s 500 units - part of the revitalization of the entire Five Points neighborhood.

"We do believe that when you lessen the density of a site, it does make it a little bit easier for the police department to police that area. I think it also helps improve the ability of the individuals who live within that area to be a little bit more aware of what's happening in their community," said Alvin Nance, Executive Director and CEO of KCDC.

David Ricketts lives a block away on Center Avenue.

"If they can get all the riff-raff out yeah, it would help. It would be a good thing," said Ricketts.

KCDC said those forced to move because of the project could live in other low-income housing nearby, or they could use Section 8 housing vouchers.

This is just phase one - KCDC plans to tear down the rest of the Walter P. units in future and then rebuild.

"The qualifications to live in public housing will be identically the same then as it will be today. That will not change," said Nance.

What Nance said he hopes will change is the attitude in the area. He said people will take greater pride in where they live. But Jones isn't so sure:

"The crime - I don't think it's going to change too much because it's still going to be the same people out here," she said.

There's no timeline on how long the total demolition of the Walter P. Taylor housing development will take.


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