Rob Levy 
Member since Mar 19, 2015


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Re: “Public Market neighborhoods need a boost

Back in the early '80s, when the future NOTA was just a poor neighborhood with many vacant buildings - houses, the factories that became Village Gate and the Towner Building, Neighborhood Housing Services (NHS) came in and connected with neighbors and early renovators in the the Atlantic-University neighborhood AND the neighborhood on the other side of the Atlantic Ave underpass, between Atlantic and East Main, in an effort to re-vitalize both. There was also a strong Beechwood neighborhood association . Atlantic-University was successful in this initiative. I'm not sure what happened to NHS. Part of what happened in A-U was due to momentum created by its existing residents and early pioneer renovators that started back in the '70s - I bought a vacant house in a city auction1980 and joined the Atlantic-University neighborhood association, strengthening it's partnership with the city - which included infrastructure improvements. One of the Association's initiatives was to convince the city to auction off remaining vacant houses to owner occupants only, which enabled moderate to low-income families to own and renovate houses. Our goal was to increase home ownership and not gentrify the area. As the housing stock stabilized there came the bold initiatives of the Stern brothers and Paul Kramer who undertook the renovation of Stecher-Traung complex (the future Village Gate) and the Towner building. There were also those already anchoring the area, including Artie Goldfetter, the owner of Fabrics and Findings and other early pioneers.. There was momentum. The other factor was the early - albeit slight - rise in property values, which led some slumlords to sell and move on to other areas, unfortunately including the Public Market area. What happened in Beechwood and other poorer areas that led to their being left behind? Many factors, not the least being, in my opinion, the crack epidemic of the 1980s. Efforts to renovate houses and commercial buildings seemed to fizzle out. But I still believe that there can be a renaissance there. Hungerford is becoming a destination for artists and other entrepreneurs. Marketplace Heights has worked diligently to stabilize that area, but there is no ignoring the overwhelming fact of extreme poverty, with all that accompanies it. I know there are people doing good work there, and would love to hear more from them.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Rob Levy on 03/19/2015 at 10:49 AM

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