Write Again … A modern Tale of Two Cities

Published 6:18 pm Monday, February 17, 2014

There was a long, long period of time when our town had as much as, if not more, slum properties per capita as probably any town or city in the country. That such was the case for so very long defies comprehension.

Thank goodness such is not the case now. The leading, driving forces that rid the town of such horrible blight, beginning in the 1960s, was the Redevelopment Commission and the Washington Housing Authority.

These two entities were a collaborative partnership that, quite literally, wrought a change that touched the lives of hundreds, no, thousands of our fellow citizens in a positive way.  And that is an understatement.

During those years, especially in the beginning, few public voices gave their written or spoken support to the endeavor. Fortunately, the Redevelopment Commission and the Housing Authority had exceptional leadership, both administratively, and on their appointive commission and board, respectively.

Under the aegis of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, these local employees and commission and board members saw to the transformation of a significant portion of this town.

That’s all in the past now. The Housing Authority operates quietly and effectively while the Redevelopment Commission has finished its task, and no longer exists.

Those whose lives were affected by that transformation would attest to how things became so much better. Many, of course, who were among the early beneficiaries are no longer with us.

Many of the early commission and board members are no longer with us either. Yet the fruits of their vision, leadership, and courage are here for all to see.

They made a difference.

APROPOS — “Make no small plans, for they have no magic to stir men’s souls.” — John Ruskin