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Ribbon-Cutting Marks Culmination of Dream For Philadelphia Activist

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- A long-awaited dream for the leader of a South Philadelphia civic organization came true today at the ribbon-cutting for a new senior housing development.

Lois Fernandez, founder of Odunde, is 74 years old and in a wheelchair, but her smile was beaming at the ribbon-cutting for Osun Village, a mixed-use development of affordable housing, office, and commercial space at 2308 Grays Ferry Avenue.

Fernandez's Odunde Inc. throws the largest African-American festival on the East Coast every June.

Some neighborhood opposition, including a court case, and the housing crash held up the project for years.  But Fernandez says she was always hopeful.  She got past the neighborhood opposition, got federal stimulus money, and formed  a partnership with Kenneth Gamble's Universal Companies.

"It's been a while, it's been a while," she told KYW Newsradio on Monday.  "I've got to go back.  But you know what? Time flies.  But we're here.  To come to this day and to see it, what a blessing, truly a blessing -- to see your dream come to fruition."

Reported by Karin Phillips, KYW Newsradio 1060.

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