City leaders in Tampa broke ground Wednesday on the first of 12 new homes they plan to build in Sulphur Springs.
The new houses will replace ones that have been abandoned and torn down. Tampa is investing $1.4 million dollars in the "Nehemiah Project" to build affordable, single family homes that people will live in.
The plan is to spend the next 120 days building the new houses.
It's all Leon and fellow neighbors could talk about. They think filling vacant lots with dozens of new homes is a step in the right direction. "I'm just glad to see that something is happening," Leon said. "I'm glad to see they're cleaning the place up," one of his neighbors said.
At the beginning of last year, the city removed more than 150 tons of debris, added 400 new street lights and bulldozed 25 vacant and abandoned homes. By the end of December, violent crime dropped 20%.
For Leon and his neighbors, they're hoping the changes bring back the good old days.
Even though violent crime is down, some around the neighborhood are still a little cautious. "I can tell you if they're going to build new homes they better have NASA state of the art security system. They better have a couple pit bulls in the yard," one of Leon's neighbors told him.
But when it comes down to it, Leon believes the mayor's plan is a good start. "Building houses is a wonderful thing. It's going to help the way it looks," he said.