Friday, December 30, 2005

Community redevelopment

What is called “community redevelopment” here in Knoxville is supposed to be an attempt to spruce up historic areas of the city that have since fallen in to disrepair. If the idea is to restore historic places to some semblance of their former glory, then I am certainly all for it. I love being able to take a stroll down city streets and feel like I’ve stepped back in time.

However, some cases of this so-called redevelopment are merely excuses for the government to confiscate private property and have the potential for serious abuse.

For example, I really have a problem with the tactics used by the Knoxville Community Development Corporation described in this News-Sentinel article. For the record: I love the downtown area, and I agree with many of our city leaders that the McClung Warehouses are certainly an eyesore to the Knoxville skyline. I further agree that something needs to be done about them. However, I am not sure I agree with the tactic of KCDC (a HUD-underwritten local government bureaucratic morass) continuing to give the owner of the warehouses notice when he DID submit a plan for remodeling the buildings. Sure, the city should see to it that eyesores like the warehouses are either remodeled or removed, but they need also to respect the private property rights of the folks who own these buildings and lots.

You have to wonder if KCDC has some other reason for wanting so badly to condemn the warehouses…a downtown housing project, perhaps?


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