On the Marketview Heights Neighborhood from Julie Everitt; 40 years later still optimistic
By: David Kramer
In Marketview, Julie was seen in the Susan B. Anthony community garden, surrounded by green beans, tomatoes and marigolds planted by neighborhood children. She scouted out vacant eyesore houses to be demolished. And faithfully attended hundred of planning meetings. And doing her weekly shopping at the Public Market.
Today’s front page story, “How to fix a neighborhood on the edge,” is a well researched and informed history and snapshot of where Marketview stands. democratandchronicle.com/story/news/2015/09/06/how-fix-neighborhood-edge/32349207/ But no story about Marketview is complete without Julie’s commentary drawn from decades of experience:
1. What changes did you see in the neighborhood over 40 years? Disappearing middle class jobs One of the biggest changes was the employment picture. At one time, a considerable number of residents had decent paying jobs including benefits, health care and pensions. Not peculiar to Rochester, these jobs are gone. New jobs pay less, have fewer benefits and require a car. In this economic environment, affordable housing and support services like day care keep families afloat and employed. Decent affordable housing is just as important as home ownership.
2. We hear so much about gentrification. Is Marketview suited for gentrification? Obviously this is a low-income neighborhood. The residents and many of the other players believe gentrification is not the answer for this area of the City. Gentrification, or the influx of middle-income families to neighborhoods, has done much to revitalize other areas such as the South Wedge and Neighborhood of the Arts. Cities, however, will probably always be home to lower-income families. While mixed income housing can be a goal, I believe a low-income neighborhood can be a viable area. A safe place to live and work where residents have the capacity to make decisions regarding their lives and future. Ultimately, such neighborhoods do require more resources, both public and private, than middle income areas. But the investment pays off by creating a sense of neighborhood autonomy and self-reliance.
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