Revitalizing Reid Park neighborhood one front porch at a time

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Ask a long time resident what the Reid Park neighborhood looked like several years ago and they'll tell you it's a far cry from the newly built homes and well-manicured lawns.

Mary Hames says where homes stand now, there use to be empty lots with overgrown grass.

"It's exciting," Hames said to see the all the new construction and meet new neighbors. More homeowners here on Charlotte's west side and less crime Hames finds. "It done went down..a lot..thank God..because I use to be scared here."

"We've made big changes on this street...Amay James here," Family Services Director for Habitat for Humanity Darryl White said. Close to 10 percent of the 400 homes have been built or rehabbed by non-profits led by Habitat for Humanity.

"We'd like to see this throughout the neighborhood...people know we're not trying to take over the neighborhood but we want to mainly be partners with the neighborhood," White said.

Not only do parents have a place to call home, but kids now have a place to play. A Washington, D.C. based non-profit Kaboom, along with Habitat folks, Reid Park residents and others put up a playground for kids 13 and under October 13.

"When we can build a community, that's when we know we made a difference," White said. "Just looking at it the way we're looking at it, we still think there is some work that needs to be done."

Hames agrees saying she'd like to see a grocery store and better shops closer to her home.

Habitat for Humanity plans to build ten homes each year in Reid Park for at least the next three years. White say they can't do the work alone and are always looking for community partners.

For more information on Habitat for Humanity, click here.

Copyright 2012 WBTV. All rights reserved.