NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. — A New Port Richey neighborhood that has long dealt with drugs and crime is now a major step closer to transforming.
- West Pasco Habitat for Humanity bought 50 lots in neighborhood
- Volunteers worked over past year to clear dilapidated mobile homes from area
- First home owner will be Iraq War veteran Forest Spall
- More Pasco County stories
On Monday, West Pasco Habitat for Humanity held a ceremony to dedicate a newly built house on Leisure Lane to its new owner, Iraq War Veteran Forest Spall.
“I’m honored today to be part of such a big thing," Spall said. "Not only big for my life but big for my community."
Spall's new home is just the first of several that the nonprofit will build in the neighborhood. West Pasco Habitat purchased 50 lots on Leisure Lane and Van Doren Avenue in the neighborhood technically known as “Town & Country Villas" last year.
Volunteers have worked since then to remove mobile homes that were in really bad shape.
"The homes were just filthy and terrible,” said New Port Richey Police Chief Kim Bogart. “We’d find syringes, needles on all these properties.”
Bogart is a huge supporter of Habitat’s efforts, saying that since they started working on the neighborhood crime has dropped.
“I think every week that goes by and new construction goes on, there’s more activity, it pushes out the criminal element,” Bogart said.
The organization worked with Pasco County to secure funding and also had significant help from other organizations, such as the Gulf Harbors Civic Association.
Spall says he knows the history of his new neighborhood, but he wants to be among the first to see it restored.
“Now there’s hope in this neighborhood and I’m the one leading this hope,” Spall said. “It’s an honor.”