Gentrification, a term of the 60’s synonymous with Urban Development, is the “upgrading” of run-down inner cities. City redevelopment is preceded by zoning laws and the enforcement thereof, and the condemnation of long held properties (witness: the 56 properties on High to make room for a parking lot and the construction of a new YMCA, or, the condemnation of properties along 2nd St. to make room for another parking lot and lawn for “WACC”. Developers realizing a great profit potential are involved in initial planning. Buy it cheap and sell to the Yuppie influx.

I lived in center cities before renewal. Indianapolis now has a thriving downtown. Stockton, California, presently the murder capital of the US, is in the throes of renewal with much of the “Hood” being bulldozed. I can look north and south from now beautiful center-cities in the direction of what used to be home and see barren land interspersed with an occasional high-rise or condominium. I ask myself: “Is this progress? What happened to my old neighbors? The gangsters and the old folks? The regular people who found they can no longer afford to stay?

It seems so foolish. To think: We can solve problems by sweeping them away by substituting hopscotch for basketball; by keeping the brothers out of places where they can expend energy putting a ball into a hoop. Don’t get me wrong. The rejuvenation of downtown Williamsport and Indianapolis and Stockton is fantastic. But, what happens to the folks displaced? Are we simply burying problems in hope that they will just go away?

Jude Richardson

Cogan Station

Submitted by Virtual Newsroom