In a discussion recently on the Wire a poster asked me what I would suggest in terms of development. He had suggested that no area be developed that had poor people living there as they would just relocate to other areas. He even referred to Coke Hill as being a former poor people location as surely it was. He seemed to bemoan the fact that those people living there had been relocated. What he refers to is the Fort Smith National Historic Site. It would not have come to be if Judge Paul Wolfe and others had not dislocated the squatters that lived there. When run down areas are redeveloped the homeless that occupy vacant buildings and defecate in people's yards are dislocated. New buildings and parks take their place. That is a good thing. Cheap flop houses and rentals occupied by druggies and thuggy gangster types are eliminated as well. That is a good thing. There are lots of people who are good folks trying hard who may live in these areas who have no alternatives as well. They can be relocated into better surroundings. The reality of course is that any area so affected is going to be small. The good for the community is going to be large. The example is the National Historic Site. I know of no other in town where this has been the case. There is of course the plan for the building that used to be Riverside Furniture becoming a centralized homeless coalition building to better provide services and to move the homeless services away from downtown nearer to what is referred to as south camp where many stay. Do I want to move the homeless from the downtown area that is trying to be developed into a tourist, arts attraction? Yes. Is that evil? No. The Marshals Museum and other planned projects on the river and the downtown area do not need these folks wandering the streets and pan handeling our visitors. One of the projects I hope to see on the riverfront is the Fort Smtih Schools Activity Center. This would get more people to visit the downtown and riverfront instead of in their lilly white enclaves on the east and south of town. Some of the wire posters don't seem to know what they want. They complain because new development is going to the east and yet complain because if it is located elsewhere the property owners may make some money. There is just no satisfying some folks. So what would I suggest? Concentrate our redevelopment on Garrison Ave. and the riverfront. Improve access by extending Kelley Highway to Riverfront Drive. Acquire the old Flowers Bakery building and tear it down for additional parking and eye appeal next to the convention center. Acquire the old Sears building in about the 900 block of Garrison Ave and turn it into free downtown parking. Acquire the old Barry Real Estate building next to IC church and turn it into a park. extend the trolley to IC Church and use it to really move people instead of a museum piece. Build a new city hall next to Cisterna Plaza. That will do for a start. Will it happen? probably not as long as the trogodytes continue to put the brakes on any proposal that comes along. It is what Pilgrim refers to as "the Fort mentality". NO CHANGE
Your Region is not set.