Blight

Blight

Smith, Marjorie
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Blight is like beauty: it lies in the eyes of the beholder.

If you’re a developer, blight keeps you from selling your townhouses and condos for top dollar until someone puts in paved streets and curbs and streetlights.

If you’re a local politician, blight is a magic word that lets you create a tax-increment district and pave streets and build sidewalks and put in streetlights with the increased property tax revenues after the developer sells his properties (and who cares if other civic needs like schools and libraries and police and fire departments don’t get a share of the new money?).

If you’re a southside resident who slips down to our corner of town for the Parade of Sheds, it’s not blight, it’s nostalgia; it’s a morning spent in Norman Rockwell’s mythical America where there are alleys full of life and giant trees line quiet streets.

If you’re a resident of the neighborhood, it’s not blight, it’s funkiness; it’s quirkiness, it’s a place like Asia where the very soil has been handled by generations of gardeners glorying in this most fertile, warmest corner of town; it’s a place where work is honored by industrial sites sprinkled in among the residences; where one of the best-preserved old mansions in town sits across from a dog-grooming business; where houses come in every possible shape and style and every color of the rainbow and you can’t possibly guess the floor plan by standing on the street outside.

It’s not blight, it’s home.
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