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Tampa public housing development built in the 1950s being replaced by newer affordable housing

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Posted at 4:50 PM, Jun 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-29 19:19:29-04

TAMPA, Fla. — It’s a complex that has certainly seen better days.

“I’m not going to be critical of public housing, my father grew up in public housing so affordable housing is very near and dear to my heart, “ said Dan Coakley, principal for PMG Affordable. “But, if you take a look around this housing has long outlived its useful life.”

Robles Park Village was built about six decades ago. The roundabout 430 units are tattered and worn down. The Tampa Housing Authority says it’s time to go.

“Lived its life, served its purpose, and it’s time to be torn down,” said David Iloanya, the Tampa Housing Authority Director of Real Estate.

That will make way for a 1,000 unit affordable housing complex. Coakley is one of the master planners and hopes it’s the “jewel” in the Tampa Housing Authority’s portfolio.

We have a responsibility to deliver beautiful housing but also the supportive services that help people get to the next level in life rather than just sort of have a full concentration of poverty with people not having a lot of options,” Coakley said.

Current residents will be relocated to other affordable housing developments or get section 8 vouchers so they can choose where they want to live. They will also have priority on renting the new units once they’re finished in about 10-12 years.

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“You’re not gonna be relocated and then we’re going to build this beautiful jewel of a property and you’re not gonna have an opportunity to come back,” Coakley said. “They will absolutely have the right to come back.”

The complex will have a hub in the middle to help connect residents to healthcare, education and groceries. It’ll also assist them with financial well-being.

The project also includes honoring a piece of history that was lost and has now been found by remembering the people laid to rest there.

“Zion cemetery was found founded in 1901, and then it dissipated by the 1930s on and then it was rediscovered in 2019 so we recognize that as part of an issue that we have to resolve,” said Iloanya.

The plan included lots of input from current residents. The final Zion memorial designwill happen during phase two of development.