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CINCINNATI - Faye Carr was so excited, she interrupted the ceremony unveiling the new Villages at Roll Hill with a rendition of "We Wish You a Merry Christmas."
Those assembled to listen to the requisite politicians' speeches broke out in laughter and applause.
"My manager put me into a lovely apartment!" she said. "I love it! I love the area."
The road to Tuesday's celebration has been more than a little bloody.
The neighborhood formerly known as the Fay Apartments was synonymous with violence and murder.
"Scary to even look outside my window," said Angelo Lamar Jackson of growing up in the neighborhood. "It was everyday on the news, (a) drug bust or somebody getting shot."
Jackson has lived in the neighborhood for the last 10 years.
He thought "The Fay" was hopeless.
"I (thought) it really wasn't going to do nothing," he said of the renovation. "I really thought that the people already here, (and) the new people were going to mess it up."
Then came the renovated apartments, central air conditioning, new playgrounds, better security and a child care center.
The fear of violence began to fade.
Jackson says his prediction of continued bad behavior was wrong.
"To be honest, they haven't. Everything's been cool." he said. "Of course, there's ben a couple people messed up, but everything's fine now."
The 2-year, $36 million transformation has made such a difference, the head of Housing and Urban Development (H.U.D.) made the trip from Washington, D.C.
"If residents care about this community," Shaun Donovan said after the ribbon cutting. "If they take care of it, if they work with the city, the local school, the police department to make sure this is a safe place to raise kids...those are the things that are going to keep this community whole."
So far, Angelo Jackson says he and his neighbors are off to a good start.
"I can actually raise my son here," he said. "I was scared to do it at the beginning, but it's a lot better."
The project was funded by loans from the City of Cincinnati and the federal government.
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