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Newport News broke ground this week on the next phase of a project to redevelop the low-income housing community Ridley Place in the city’s Southeast neighborhood.

“The stories from Ridley Place will stay with us forever,” said Mayor McKinley Price. “But it's time for the next chapter.”

The aging development was demolished early this year to make room for the new mixed-income neighborhood, funded by the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Newport News and Norfolk received $30 million each to replace dilapidated 1950s-era affordable housing developments. Norfolk is focusing its efforts on the St. Paul’s community near downtown.

Former Ridley Place resident Miyoshi Stallings was part of the community input for the project. She said she felt heard by developers.

“I was blessed to move out Ridley Circle,” she said. “It wasn’t all the way great, but I took advantage, the proper way. When it was things going on I didn’t like, I spoke with respect and understanding to the administrations and the offices, and they helped.”

Stallings, who was able to move out with the help of the city’s relocation vouchers, said the new project will help bridge divides in the city.

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Photo courtesy of City of Newport News 

Miyoshi Stallings speaks at the Marshall-Ridley neighborhood groundbreaking.

“You live in a big home, small apartment, don't matter,” she said. “We got to keep pushing each other for greater – you know, you don't look at people and knock them. You don't do things like that. You find understanding from somewhere.”

The redeveloped Marshall-Ridley will include more than 170 housing units, a walking trail and an early childhood development center.

Construction should finish by the end of 2024.