Sept. 25, 2003 – Sen. Emmett Hansen II, who chairs the Legislature's Housing, Parks and Recreation Committee, traveled to Florida this week along with Butch Hodge of Apex Construction to spend time at a housing-manufacturing plant operated by a firm Hansen wants the territory to do business with.
Genesis Corp. owns a dozen manufacturing facilities around the country, including the one in Jacksonville, Florida. Hansen said in a release that Genesis "is actively exploring relocating and setting up a manufacturing facility" at St. Croix's Renaissance Park to build "affordable homes for residents of the territory."
The release said Hansen made the trip "to investigate first hand the construction of the affordable homes he would like to see built in the Virgin Islands, and how the company that builds them conducts their operation."
Hansen said he hopes that Genesis will have homes custom tailored for the Caribbean on display at a Housing and Urban Revitalization Fair to be held on St. Croix in December.
According to Hansen, Genesis expects to provide about a hundred "job opportunities" on the island and to market homes produced there not only on St. Croix but on the other Virgin Islands and throughout the Caribbean.
"We are interested in creating quality middle-class income neighborhoods and housing developments," Hansen said. In collaboration with local architects, he said, Genesis will produce homes that "are to have a Caribbean look and design."
Among the speakers lined up for the housing fair and their topics, he said, are these:
– Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, "The Importance of Urban Renewal in Community Building."
– Jackson (Mississippi) Mayor Harvey Johnson, "Preserving Historical and Cultural Elements in Urban Revitalization."
– John H. Jackson, NAACP director of education, "Homeownership Leads to Better-Educated, Financially Stable Families."
– Stacy Walker, "Freddie Mac's Role in Affordable Housing and Urban Revitalization."
Hansen noted in the release that he has experience in the field of affordable residential development. As Lutheran Social Services development director, he said, he oversaw the construction of the $3.8 million Ebenezer Gardens housing complex on St. Thomas and the $1.5 million Genip Gardens complex on St. Croix. Both were federally funded projects.
Apex Construction built Ebenezer Gardens. Hodge stated: "Senator Hansen and I are no strangers when it comes to construction."
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