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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — The city of Huntsville has been given a competitive Choice Neighborhood Planning Grant from the U.S. Department of Urban Development.

The grant, worth $1.3 million, will be used to transform the area southwest of downtown Huntsville with new affordable housing.

“If we can improve the buildings, I think the quality of life will be a lot better,” said Butler Terrace resident Kristine Wyszynski.

But this plan is about more than just a facelift.

“We will be looking at sidewalks, connectivity, beautification of the area, all things that will make this area successful,” said Quisha Riche with the Huntsville Housing Authority.

The area covered by the grant is just over one square mile, with the primary redevelopment area being 28 acres. The next three years are being considered a planning period only. There will be no construction, no demolition, and no one’s being displaced. But when construction does start, residents here will get relocation assistance and will have the opportunity to come back to this neighborhood.

The city is working with successful re-developments in other states and will even meet with current residents to identify what’s important to them.

“I feel like somebody really cares about my fellow citizens and I being a part of Butler Terrace,” Wyszunski said. “I want another park where the kids can play and know they’re free from the drugs, the gangs, the whatevers.”

Planners want to create a model that can be followed throughout the city so each area of Huntsville is an area of choice.