Durham residents weigh in one final time before developers design new Hayti project

Joel Brown Image
ByJoel Brown via WTVD logo
Friday, July 29, 2022
EMBED <>More Videos

In the final scheduled community meeting on the next steps in redeveloping a large swath of Durham's historic Hayti community, the development team talked in broad strokes about wh

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- In the final scheduled community meeting on the next steps in redeveloping a large swath of Durham's historic Hayti community, the development team talked in broad strokes about what they want to do with the 20 acres of land once home to hundreds of Black families and NC Central University professors that were demolished for the Fayette Place public housing projects, and is now just dirt and memories.

The Durham Community Partners development team is promising a newer denser mixed-use community that compliments old Hayti, doesn't gentrify or displace it: affordable townhomes; apartments atop a grocery store; opportunities for home ownership; new black business; an innovation center.

"This is a space that could be for a grocery store," said F7 International President James Montague. "We want to have places where youth and entrepreneurs can come. This would be dedicated space for them."

Anita Scott Neville sat in the audience engaged, but skeptical.

It's been a year and a half since Scott toured old Hayti with ABC 11. Her father, Joseph Scott, owned and operated Turner's Beauty and Barber Supply, one of the hundreds of Black businesses and homes torn down for the Durham freeway and the empty promises of urban renewal.

Luxury high rises now stand where Scott's father old beauty supply shop once thrived. And as for what to do on what's left of old Hayti, Scott thinks the community engagement has been lacking.

"We remain strong in our efforts to thwart and interrupt the process that's on the table," she said. "And to make it truly equitable and to have true community engagement."

There were others here more eager for the development who were fed up with the years of blight.

"Fayette Place has been vacant since 2009. That's 13 years," said Sandra Battle, who stood to say Durham's changing fast -- Hayti has to change with it. "We have not kept up with the times. It's a new day. This is 2022 and it's coming."

This was the third and final community meeting. The Durham Housing Authority, which is spearheading the project, and the developers will now take all the ideas they've heard and start drawing up a plan.

The first designs of what the new Fayette Place development will look like and what's going to be in it are expected sometime this fall. More community meetings could be scheduled then.