Sulphur housing projects

One of the new houses in Sulphur SpringsOne of the new houses in Sulphur Springs

Mayor Buckhorn a realtor for a dayKitchen in the new houseThe interior in the house

TAMPA, FL (WFLA) -

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn will try on a new job Tuesday. He will become a realtor. He wants to sell houses in one of the city's poorest and most troubled neighborhoods. The first one goes on the market Tuesday morning.

Mayor Buckhorn a realtor for a day"We're trying to do what we can to stop the bleeding, if you will, " explained Mayor Bob Buckhorn.

Crews started bulldozing condemned and vacant houses in Sulphur Springs last year as part of the Nehemiah Project. There are now 70 vacant lots and 11 new homes are up or currently under construction.

"When you eliminate the blight and you eliminate the rentals, and you give people an opportunity for home ownership they're going to plant roots and they're going to make sure that the neighborhood doesn't deteriorate like it had, " said Buckhorn.

Kitchen in the new houseThe city has pumped .4 million into the project. Each time a house is sold at market rate, for an average of about , 000, another house will be built with the proceeds. Lenders and realtors are working with the city to sell to interested families who might not qualify for conventional loans.

"It's probably one of Tampa's toughest neighborhoods and if we're ever going to have an opportunity to give those kids a better life, than it starts with the basic fundamentals. And housing is one of those fundamentals, " said Buckhorn.

The Mayor claims crime has gone down 20 percent in Sulphur Springs since the bulldozers rolled in. The city has also installed more than 400 street lights for safety and hauled away 150 tons of trash.

"It's not the be all end all and it's not going to cure the problem. But it will certainly go a long way to stem that bleeding, " said Buckhorn.


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