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Monday, Feb. 26, 2007 | If anyone would like another to add to Murtaza Baxamusa’s list of bad redevelopment projects, look at Grantville.
For decades Grantville has been a neighborhood of hard-working people, minding their business. It is precisely this nose-to-the-grindstone approach, however, that made Grantville a target for the forces of redevelopment. Everybody was too busy doing their jobs to pay attention to the political calculations targeting their community.
The current Grantville “Vision Plans” would transform a light-industrial and retail-business community into a high-density residential community — an “urban village.” To a great extent, the plans amount to scraping the earth clean and starting over. And to what end?
Clearly, redevelopment is a money-making machine for those who drive the process —lenders, developers, lawyers, and it is job security for Redevelopment Agency staff. To be charitable, it would be nice to give elected officials the benefit of the doubt and hope they are not lining their pockets too. There are doubts. “The premise that any development is good for the community” is obviously based on the fact that any development is so good for the developers (and lenders, lawyers, etc.).
Unfortunately, it is everybody else left holding the bag. If an area is truly a blight on society, then this cost is well worth it, and everyone should share. As Baxamusa illustrates, however, these dubious money-making schemes have a way of turning out bad and costing the city millions.
Given that the city’s financial prospects are grim, even looking far into the future, the last thing we need is to embark on another dubious redevelopment venture. We should all keep our fingers crossed (and toes too) that on March 7th the county wins its lawsuit with the city to stop Grantville redevelopment.