Wednesday, August 31, 2011

SHHH..Dont tell city officials urban neighborhoods are coming back..they will just mess it up!

There was an interesting article a few weeks ago about the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood and its 'amazing' turnaround:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/05/nyregion/in-bedford-stuyvesant-a-black-stronghold-a-growing-pool-of-whites.html?pagewanted=all

The premise was that a once established black neighborhood was suddenly experiencing 'white influx'. Now this should be of no surprise to any historic preservationist. The neighborhood has  (compared to the rest of New York) great architecture at affordable  prices. The fact the neighborhood experienced a 633 percent increase in white migration should be no surprise to anyone.

The move to Urban neighborhoods has been happening for decades now. From the 1970's and 80's when San Francisco saw a great residential rebirth,  the turnaround of Indianapolis urban neighborhoods in the 90's and  even the turnaround of downtown Los Angeles going on right now..

City officials, urban planners, the 'visions' for the future groups ( who typically do not live in the neighborhoods they 'vision' about) are always the last to realize what is going on in the real world of neighborhoods.


This Dayton St mansion was 7 apartments, now a single family, a growing trend.
Case in point: you can go on to the city data website and still see OTR described as a gang infested, war torn , bombed out neighborhood that will never turn around. However you can go to Findlay Market, drive up Vine or Main and see that while OTR still has a  long way to go, it has turned a corner. Dayton Street is another example, people focus on the tenements but fail to notice the 4-5 homes that are being restored back to single family every year. Have you been to Price Hill lately? Millions of dollars of restoration and renovation as that neighborhood makes its comeback.
Fairmount is the latest "disconnect' as MSD, the city and county commissioner's envision bulldozing the business/residential district, put in a glorified drainage ditch of a daylighted creek and 'magically' developers will flock to the area. Now while this make make Mayor Mallory "all tingly' it ignores the reality that there is opposition, both from preservationists, residents and business community. The city will have a major hurdle of section 106 review and the Norwood eminent domain case has changed the dynamic on eminent domain. Residents have access to legal help, federal and state law and process the city never considered when  it thought it would clean up 'poor, uneducated' Fairmount. Thinking, only they, the smartest people in the room, know what is best for Fairmount, may find themselves dumbfounded when they have to deal with the real world of section 106 review, eminent domain lawsuits and several another legal action all by people who are defending their neighborhood from people who don't live there, don't visit there and have no clue what is really going on in that neighborhood.

It is the inability to see what is actually going on rather than what they perceive is going on that drives them. Given the targeting by the vacant building task force to drive down property values to benefit MSD in its eminent domain offers, it is amazing this community has pulled itself up in spite of negative city policies.

Do you wonder if city officials know there are mansions in my neighborhood?
As Knox Hill moves toward its national registry nomination I have to ask, other than Councilman Lippert who actually toured my neighborhood, have ANY ONE of you taken the time to tour my neighborhood even though your policies directly affect it?
Beekman renovations

Have you looked at the renovations now occurring outside Knox Hill for example, like along Beekman?

Restored school
One of the key components to neighborhood turnaround is school options. CPS fought to prevent the new Roosevelt Academy, http://theodorerooseveltschool.com/home  from happening on Tremont, will the city ignore the illegal dumping on Waverly and Bloom streets to deny the school a fighting chance? Interesting now CPS is reopening the school on White street they wanted to sell just a few years ago as the Quebec Heights school, http://quebec.cps-k12.org/

Schools are generally a prime indicator of neighborhood direction.

 I sometimes wonder if it will take an article in New York times, a national piece on NPR or a segment on 60 minutes for city officials to wake up and smell the coffee? And to Mayor Mallory  whose been quoted a being 'all tingly' about the MSD project or  county planner Todd Kinskey who talks about the " light at the end of the tunnel"...come up to Knox Hill some weekend and I will show you a neighborhood that will make you all tingly and cure your bad case of "tunnel vision". You can see a neighborhood being done without Millions of Federal dollars, just people who care about their neighborhood and dont believe in "pipedream projects" not rooted in reality, but rather the real work of neighborhood turnaround...you might learn a few things.

No comments:

Post a Comment