A re-dedication ceremony for the new Coffelt-Lamoreaux development near 19th Avenue and Buckeye launches a new era for many of its residents.
90-year-old Lucio “Chief” Villalpando says he can’t wait to get into his newly remodeled unit.
“I’m ready to get to my old place,” says Villalpando.
He’s been here during some of the public housing project’s worst years.
“It was rough. It was rough,” he says. “A lot of fights and arguments, and a lot of people struggling. Trying to get by.”
He’s now here for the transformation.
“It’s quite a difference,” he says laughing. “It’s quite a difference. They’re awful nice now.”
The affordable housing complex, built in the 1950’s, was slated for demolition just a few years ago.
“It would have been a disaster not only to 300 families but the neighborhood school: Hamilton School,” says District 5 Maricopa County Supervisor Steve Gallardo. “We were able to work with other public entities and private entities to be able to preserve this.”
“We were able to put 49 million dollars to redevelop this beautiful community,” says Housing Authority of Maricopa County Executive Director Gloria Muñoz. “A lot of the upgrades had to be done with the infrastructure: the sewer, all the electrical, the plumbing, and all the lines. Every unit was gutted. We created new interior streets, the playgrounds are new, and the whole park is new.”
The park is a favorite for the kids, and for the whole family there’s a clinic, learning center, workforce development, and park services on site.
“Since the county has helped to approve the complex here, I really hope that we as the residents here will really see the better outlook: that we can have a better future. A better life,” says Rita, Villalpando’s daughter.