Crafting a plan that envisions what our city could be like in 14 years is no small task. Neither is getting through the whole thing to review it! While I have spent hours getting through as much as I can since it’s release, at 500 pages long, I find myself relying on others interpretations for many sections. I believe we need more time to collect thorough and thoughtful responses from our residents (The comment period ended Friday 8/16).
While the document is filled with several things that community advocates have been asking for however, I am concerned about the Middle Neighborhood strategy for neighborhood development.
My neighborhood is defined as half middle market and half weak market. Beechwood and it's neighborhood coalition are fighting to slow gentrification the deplacement it is causing. This neighborhood will increase in value without assistance from the city or from employee incentive programs. In the last 5 years, Beechwood housing prices and rents have skyrocketed. Just in the last year my own home has appreciated in value by 8%
Instead, we - a city with extremely high poverty rates - should be investing our public money into lower income, weak market neighborhoods that have been historically disinvested by our government due to institutional racism. Not investing in weak market areas because the city won't see the same rate of return as in middle market areas, is not an acceptable justification.
My question is, if we get more tax revenue from increase property values, but indigenous residents were pushed out in the process, who then is this increased tax revenue benefitting, but transplants here from suburbs and universities.
It's time to reverse our development practices that have their roots in racism and begin to right the wrongs committed against communities of color by investing in weak market neighborhoods instead of "repositioning them for development" that is not housing related.
This is about justice and I would like to see justice be our top priority as we lay out our way forward for the next 15 years.