“It was a wonderful place, but to come out here now and see how it looks, I can’t believe it,” said a neighbor, who did not want her face on camera.
She told WGNO that she remembers when the base was full of life. Back in the 1980s, she was a security guard there.
“You have the front of the location, you have the back, the warehouses, the parking area,” she said. “You had to have enough security on hand to do the job.”
And according to her, the decision to put three security guards there 24/7, was not enough. However, that was all the developer planned to secure the space for the time being.
Monday morning, dozens of people were pulled from the homeless encampment and relocated to start the long process of Joe Jaegger’s development plan.
“We anticipate that will be around $120 million with about 300 units of housing, a little more than 40,000 square feet of retail and commercial with a lot of parking and site improvements,” Director of Economic Development Jeff Schwartz said.
The early morning sweep was a rude awakening for some people who called the base home.
“Those guys came through, and they said, ‘hey these guys are at the gate so you have 30 minutes,'” Samuel Wilcinot said. “We heard the bulldozers. They were starting to run over different areas outside of our camp.”
So, they picked up their things and moved on to start new again. Wilcinot said he hopes the city will remember that day when the project is complete.
“If they can expedite getting them housing, this was home, so you’re taking them out of their home and really putting them out on the street,” Wilcinot said.
The city said it could still be 6-8 months until the financial planning is done.