I would like to express appreciation for the city’s work on Charleston’s West Side to demolish abandoned and dilapidated houses and to provide funds for homeowners wishing to improve their homes.
It is also good to see positive results from efforts to encourage business development in the recently named Elk City section of the West Side. However, growth of business may benefit the tax base, but it will not necessarily help people living on the West Side, many of whom can’t afford to patronize these businesses.
A new plan for improving residential sections of the West Side has recently been created by CURA with much community input. It is drafted with the intent to envision the West Side — particularly the flats — as it could be.
Ten years ago, a similar plan was created with sincere intent and much community involvement, and then it was pretty much ignored. There’s nothing in this new plan that requires different results. It’s a “wouldn’t it be wonderful if” plan with no attached funding or commitment to specific actions.
Many people who live on the West Side — especially the flats — are poor. Being poor means that everything is harder and costs more. No matter how hard people try, conditions are stacked against them. They need and deserve the respect of receiving at least the same, and possibly more, help than those with greater access to reasonably priced goods and services.
Charleston has benefited from the labor of West Side residents but has not acknowledged that residents have been treated unjustly and that recompense is due. West Side citizens will benefit from money spent to provide basic amenities that wealthier sections of the city take as the norm. The city will benefit from a revived West Side and the talents and energy of its residents.