By: Brooke Rodgers

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East Oak Cliff (CBSDFW) – The dirt is moving once again in a virtually abandoned East Oak Cliff neighborhood. The historic “Bottom” neighborhood is being revitalized as part of an effort to breathe new life into South Dallas.

Carol Battie-Smith is a third generation resident of the Bottom community.

“We were all a community. It was our home. This was it,” she says.

But residents say the city forgot about the 126-acre neighborhood on the banks of the Trinity River.

“It was very, very nasty when we first got here,” says resident Lee Ann Boone.

Councilwoman Carolyn King Arnold says affordable housing will soon complement the neighborhood’s million dollar view of the skyline, thanks to a community-based planning process. The first phase – 10 homes – broke ground symbolically on Friday.

“It’s going change the landscape of Dallas, because now you have, of course, the density that was once here. You’ll have children now that can readily walk to school without having to worry about buses,” says Councilwoman Carolyn King Arnold.

She says it’s also an answer to the question of when and how South Dallas will grow.

“I think this is one of those first steps into actually growing south with the support of the city.”

For residents, it’s about pride – for their neighborhood and for the city that finally remembered them.

“I’m very glad that the city’s now coming in and doing it themselves. I couldn’t believe it,” Boone says.

“It means everything that me and my grandchildren or my daughters could be able to have housing here and to see a development that they’re not ashamed of,” says Battie-Smith.

Both city and federal funds are contributing to the project. The first ten homes should be completed by the fall, and then another seven to ten homes will be built after that.

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