ORANGE, NJ - The red and turquoise house at 183 Central Place with a sloping porch and crumbling stone steps looks dilapidated to most, but Felicia Dominguez-Santos of the Orange Housing Development Corporation only sees potential.
Standing across the street with a clear view of the property slated to be demolished to make way for a new single family home that is part of the small house development, Dominguez-Santos said, “It is going to be beautiful.”
It is just one of several ambitious projects planned by the HACO/OHDC transforming the area one ramshackle house and vacant lot at a time. The first half of Central Place has already been converted into a cozy village of brightly colored townhomes with decorative streetlamps, a garden, and community room. A school is within walking distance.
Further down the street, the HACO has cleared one lot where six units of five two-bedrooms and one-bedroom homes will be built. On the other side of 183, the Housing Authority has cleared the land for another four units of two-bedroom dwellings. Across the street, HACO is in the process of acquiring two houses that will be demolished to make room for 16 new units of 12 two-bedroom and four three-bedroom homes. Around the corner on North Parrow Street, plans are underway to build 18 units.
It’s all part of Phase 4 of the Dr. Walter G. Alexander Village that has already has had a positive effect on the neighborhood. Security cameras have decreased crime in the area by a reported 30 percent and eliminated the number of calls to the police. Property values have increased. The project has created jobs, stimulated the local economy, and contributed revenue to the city.
“There used to be 20 to 30 calls to police, fire, and emergency services per day,” states Dr. Walter McNeil, HACO’s executive director. “Now we don’t get calls because someone pulled the fire alarm, we don’t get calls for murders and car thefts. We barely get one call a month. The new housing has changed the face of the community. We have peace there now.”
“Dr. Walter G. Alexander Village is a great example of the City of Orange and the Housing Authority working together to create a better community for the residents of Orange,” Dr. McNeil continued. “After all, quality housing is the heart of a strong community.”
About the Orange Housing Authority
The City of Orange Housing Authority works to transform the City of Orange by providing safe, livable and affordable housing that promotes the development of communities. At the Orange Housing Authority, participants are not statistics, they are neighbors. The OHA knows the community and tailors programs to better serve the participant’s needs. Whether it is a search for housing, assistance with foreclosure or neighborhood development, the Orange Housing Authority stands ready to offer its services to all residents.