Thursday, March 09, 2006

Carol's Letter - Loss of Community-Loss of a Neighborhood


Dear Mr. Steve Blow,

I was hoping you might be interested in considering for you column "a tale of two communities"..... Here is the story: There is at the end of our street a small mobile home community that has been there for over 50 years...The residents of this community are;mostly Hispanic, working class, (working poor in many cases), single moms raising children, (there is an excellent elementary school within walking distance), senior citizens on very limited incomes, in other words non-affluent people. This community is old, not fashionable in any sense, and worn around the it a perfect community..of course not, but it is a community in every sense of the is non-homogenized, it is not gentrified, it has age, ethnicity, income level...and strangely enough it works...and has worked and has not been a bother to anyone...

Moving forward with the story....

At one time most of the area surrounding this mobile home park was undeveloped..the back side of this mobile home park abuts a golf course, the side to the left is a creek, on the right side is a railroad track...beyond the railroad track was undeveloped green belt land...for years..and years..and years... Then developers found this area, the proximity to white rock lake, the golf course and easy access to downtown, made this an enticing site...and soon the land to the right of the mobile home park across the tracks became a couple affluent gated communities... Pretty soon the persons residing in the gated communities tired of looking down (they literally and figuratively look down) upon the old, tired mobile home community..and plans were put into action to rid the area of this perceived blight upon the do this they aligned themselves with the Ferguson Road Initiative (FRI) an organization with grand plans to revitalize this area of the city, to bring in rooftops, rooftops, rooftops and then hopefully encourage retailers such as Starbucks, the gap, etc. to locate in the near areas (apparently the persons who reside in such gated communities will frequent these well-known establishments) ...

Ergo..a petition was signed, and statistics gathered, mainly 311 and 911 records compiled from info. from the last few years...any code violation or complaint was also included in the report...This information was then provided to the city, action taken and a hearing date established.. The purpose of the hearing was to determine if the grandfathered zoning status of the mobile home park could be revoked...

The hearing.... really a civics this hearing all of the above "stats" were presented...representatives from both sides of this issue were heard...but herein lies the "glitch" in the story....No-One on the board judging this case bothered to take the time to learn if these statistics were accurate, or if in fact they were even correct... one of the seated members of the board (co-chair as a matter of fact) found the proceeding so boring she slept through nearly all of as is the outcome of many an issue when the numbers of those who have greatly outnumber those who don't have the fate of the mobile home park was sealed....the perceived blight will be removed from the land....and over 50 families find themselves in the position of possibly being homeless....Dallas being a typical city in that the number of low to moderate income level properties either currently available or being constructed is far less that the need.....Not only that, but a grave disservice was allowed..yes, allowed to happen....when you have a handful of concerned people facing a much greater number of persons determined to have their way...odds of a a fair and equatable solution are slim to none... what exactly would we like from you....a voice perhaps...a forum maybe... a chance to present both sides...and to also maybe wake up a few people to what is happening in our city...development can be good, bringing more tax dollars into the city coffers by way of more expensive homes, ergo, increased property values, higher property taxes...on and on and on....but at what displace these families does what... and what does it say about us as humans, should we not honor the credo that we are duty bound to treat one another as we would like to be treated....with respect, honesty, and be valued....

Thanks for your time; I look forward to hearing from you.
Carol Lyons
March 9, 2006


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