VIDALIA, Ga. (WTOC) - Since new Vidalia Mayor Doug Roper was elected, he made it his mission to revitalize parts of town that had been dilapidated for years.
For more than 10 years, Mayor Roper says seven homes have sat on a block of 5th Avenue abandoned. Now, two are ready for first-time homeowners to move into.
The project, Roper says, is being worked on by the city and the Urban Revitalization Group. Right now, six of the seven homes have been bought by the group to be reconstructed.
The mayor says they are working with groups such as the VA and women of domestic violence to interview and select the homeowners.
The homes are one story. Some will be single-room and others will be multi-room.
Mayor Roper says there are no other affordable housing options like this in the community, but there certainly is a need.
“When I think about this project and think about the scope of the work that we’re trying to do with the city, this is about hope. This is about revitalization. This is about giving people an opportunity to own their own home at an affordable price,” Mayor Roper said.
Debra Brown is the first person chosen to own one of the houses. Brown says she has rented for more than a decade and this will be her first time owning her own house. She is set to move in next week.
“I’m so excited, I couldn’t believe it. I thought it was a dream. It feels like it is home. I was sitting on the porch just a while ago and I said, ‘I wish I had a chair, I’d sit on the porch,’” Brown said.
There are four more houses to restore. Each house takes about 90 days to finish.
Mayor Roper says by the end of 2022 they expect this block to be brand new.