In Canton, Ohio, outsourcing, high crime, and a lack of opportunity for advancement has led many to depart the mid-sized city, once known as “Little Chicago.” This departure left the city with a lot of vacant homes which some people of ill-repute squatted in. Rather than repair the homes and sell them to either reputable landlords for a profit or give them to the working poor (of which there are countless), Canton tore the homes down! Now, the city streets look like rows of missing teeth as unsightly lots are seen everywhere.
MSN News has reported that Baltimore is no wiser with their money. They “plan to relocate more than 120 families from West Baltimore’s troubled Gilmor Homes public housing project and demolish six buildings.” For the cost of doing so, the whole community could have been bettered. Instead, the wrecking ball is to come out for these so-called “rat” holes and it will cost more anyone who wants build new dwellings.
Mayor Catherine Pugh, whose inadequacies many in the city are already quite exhausted from, has found that the “buildings in question are a hotbed for criminal activity.” Still, there must be honest people living there. Why can’t these people be invited to better the whole area? Are we to believe that there are not honest, hard-working people who could turn these blights into havens?
It is known that the “roughly 132 units proposed for demolition house more than 120 families,” the mayor also reveals. “That’s a really high-crime area right there. The line of sight is terrible. The residents have complained about the violence. … Gilmor Homes was one of the places on our listening tour. People complained about not feeling safe.”
Pugh added, “We anticipate that planning and design will occur over the next 18 months.”
State Del. Antonio Hayes chimed in and said, “What I would like to see is there be a true conversation with the residents living there about the relocation. Gilmor Homes have already experienced a lot. There’s drug dealing and rat infestation. I’m hoping they hear out the concerns of the residents and give them an opportunity to live in areas where they have opportunity without subjecting them to the same conditions.”
“Sadly, the first precursor to a negative gentrification is demolition,” opined Ray Kelly, leader of the advocacy group No Boundaries Coalition. “When buildings are torn down, it changes property values and usually in a low-income improvised neighborhood the property values go up and indigenous people are forced out. There is a constant battle to camouflage gentrification and hide it with words like ‘innovation’ and ‘revitalization.’”
While this is the argument that many cities use, how does this help those who are in question any?
Stopping the problems extant in the city (or any city) is to make the most of the resources one has, not to spend copious amounts of money trying to knock down buildings and hope that someone buys the lot.
Baltimore is about to find this out the hard way, just like Canton did.
Source: MSN News