PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Philadelphia Housing Authority is marking the completion of the MLK Redevelopment Project in the city’s Hawthorne neighborhood.

Gathered at the corner of 13th and Fitzwater, neighbors, community activists and housing authority officials heaped praise on those who pressed for demolition of the old high-rises and construction of townhouses, duplexes and small apartment buildings in their place.

Estelle Richman, former city health commissioner and now chief operating officer of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in Washington, says she is especially pleased with the neighborhood’s transformation.

“Things take a long time sometimes when you’re looking foward, sometimes when you’re looking back you realize that was just not that long ago when this was blighted and now, today, we have new homes, we have families that can feel safe.”

The neighborhood lies between the Avenue of the Arts and South Street.

Some $81 million has been invested in the project. Still to come is a new park that the city is developing on land transferred to it by the Philadelphia Housing Authority.

Reported by Mark Abrams, KYW Newsradio

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