A housing redevelopment project will transform a shuttered Kansas City schoolhouse with help from actor Brad Pitt's Make It Right Foundation.
Pitt, a Missouri native, and his organization Make It Right has helped rebuild parts of storm-damaged New Orleans with eco-friendly green housing.
They have branched out to other neighborhoods in need of redevelopment, and now Pitt's group will contribute $2.3 million of the $14 million project that will turn the 103-year-old Bancroft School into a new apartment complex with 50 units, a community center and offer healthcare services in the Manheim Park neighborhood.
Tax credits will also help cover the costs.
Tim Duggan, an architect involved with the project, said Kansas City's Green Impact Zone drew the attention of the foundation. U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Kansas City, has spearheaded the project.
Duggan said this foundation was interested in the opportunity for a focused investment in a sustainable development.
Stephen Boyd calls Tracy Avenue in KCMO home.
"This is the fifth time I have lived on Tracy ... strange phenomenon, but it is true," said resident Boyd.
Most of his neighbors over the years have moved out.
"It is bittersweet memories of this era gone by," said Boyd.
Boyd attended the Bancroft School on East 43rd Street and Tracy Avenue.
It is now listed as a dangerous building, but it will see new life.
"This is certainly going to move in the right direction to cleanup one block, one neighborhood at a time ... that is what this will help do," said Councilman Jermaine Reed.
And for Boyd, he feels having Pitt back the project means change for the better will come to his block.
"It is encouraging when you have seen the urban decay for so long, the urban blight ... it is encouraging to see progress like that," said Boyd.
Pitt was not in Kansas City for the announcement. However, he is expected to attend the ground-breaking ceremony in June. The hope is to have the project completed by spring 2013.
Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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