Monday, October 03, 2005

We just lost another one

On Sundays, the Sun runs a feature called Resident Speak Out, where they prompt readers to write in about a certain topic of interest to the county. Last week, the topic dealt with the new high-rise slated for the old Bennigan's (sp?) site in downtown Columbia, which I posted a picture of here.

Apparently, this week they only got one letter worthy of printing, and it only dealt with the tower in a roundabout sort of way. Instead, the letter was similar to ones I've read before (and considered writing myself, to be honest). It was by Karen Mitchell, of Columbia, though not for long. Because I think she explains her position and that of many like her quite well, I'm posting the whole thing here.

I've been a Columbia resident for four years. I'm currently in the process of settling on the purchase of my first home -- in Baltimore County. I love the convenience and green space of Columbia, but I simply cannot afford the house prices.

What does this have to do with the lakefront tower proposal? Simply, it's another chance for developers to ram new housing into the community that the average buyer cannot afford. I read in The Sun (Sept. 23) that these condo units will be retailing for $500,000 and up. I was under the impression that Columbia was always meant to be a diverse community embracing different cultures and economic classes. Apparently, I was wrong.

It's merely a chance for developers to rake in money and the "haves" to buy a home in a "hot" location.

I will miss many things about Columbia when I move, but I will not miss the sheer disregard I've seen for moderate income residents. I suppose that's what happens when you live in a town owned by a corporation. A giant high-rise tower might raise astronomically high property values, but it won't help Columbia with it's main critical problem -- disappearing diversity.
I'm deeply saddened reading this letter, and those that have come before it. How many good people--young professionals, single mothers, wage earners, public servants, etc.--do we have to lose as a county before we decide to do something real about the financial gates we've let surround our community? We're better than this, aren't we?

I'm working on a nice long piece about our ridiculous housing mess. Hopefully, it will be done soon, though unfortunately not soon enough.

1 comment:

chris said...

hey, its not just columbia. in baltimore city it seems like everywhere i look there are more "luxury" townhomes or condos starting at over half a million. if this isnt a nationwide problem, it certainly extends beyond columbia's borders