Public safety, affordable housing top of mind ahead of Durham State of the City Address

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Tuesday, April 9, 2024
Durham Mayor to give State of City address
Leonardo WIlliams will give his address at the Carolina Theatre.

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Beverly Makhubele has seen firsthand the transformation of East Durham into a flourishing hotspot.

"It's given the area new life," Makhubele said. "We've seen businesses, particularly black-owned businesses increase in the last three or four years."

The Bull City's growth is echoed among business owners in East Durham, who hope they are included in Mayor Leonardo Williams' vision for the Bull City when he gives his first State of the City Address on Tuesday.

"I know some of the business owners have talked about speed bumps, how to slow traffic down in the corridor," Makhubele said. "We have questions about the train and what is happening with that."

According to a presentation in March, the City of Durham expects the population to nearly double to more than 450,000 by 2047.

Mayor Williams told ABC11 back in November when he was running for the position that he wants to capitalize on Durham's growth, while also making longtime locals feel like they are a part of the growth.

Mayor-elect Leo Williams shares vision for Durham

Alana Bantino at Luxury Hair Daze said she's impressed by how much has changed in the last few years.

"There's a lot more people," Bantino said. "It's very it's much more diverse, I would say."

Her co-owner also mentioned public safety as something she'd like to see addressed, such as more police presence in the neighborhood.

Affordable housing is also one of the biggest challenges in the Bull City faces going forward as some see the development and redevelopment of more housing units underway across the city.

"It seems like they're building a lot of luxury apartments, which I'm sure it's great, but I have more concern for the people who have been living here, who are struggling, trying to find places," Carlos Zapata Arias said.

The Durham Housing Authority said there's been significant progress, but more work needs to be done as they ultimately hope to provide 2,000 more housing units in Durham.

"Second, we are undertaking repairs and upgrades with the limited capital fund dollars that we have," a DHA spokesperson said. "Third, we are aggressively seeking additional funding to conduct needed repairs. We have been successful in winning over $9 million in additional funding in the last six months."

Areas such as Liberty and Main Streets are where city leaders plan to establish a mixed-use, mixed-income community, according to DHA.

"We excitingly await the Grand Opening of Elizabeth Street Apartments formerly known as Liberty Street Apartments around December of this year. We expect demolition on the last remaining structures this summer."

DHA said there are additional efforts underway at McDougald Terrace and Oxford Manor as well.

You can watch Mayor Williams' address live stream on ABC11 Eyewitness News

SEE ALSO | New housing project in Durham approved unanimously over concerns from neighbors