Not In My Back Yard

Northeast News
July 5, 2017

Last week social media exploded yet again with another hate-filled rant started by Northlanders fearful that residents of the Chouteau Courts housing complex would be relocated to an undeveloped corner near Barry Road and US-169 highway.

If you were privy to the thread before administrators pulled it down, it was filled with bigoted and ignorant statements such as “keep the hood in the hood,” and a variety of other epithets hurled at not only the Paseo Gateway project but at the residents of Chouteau Courts themselves, almost as if they were part of a leper colony. Facts be damned, this thing was on fire and spreading faster than a flu bug in a room full of kindergarteners. Here are some facts for you holier-than-thou Northlanders who naively believe that lower income housing doesn’t exist in your pretty little rose-colored world.

Fact 1: Chouteau Courts only has 144 units total, about half of which are occupied currently. The claim that “over 150 units” would be relocated is ridiculous and fear mongering. As outlined by stipulations in the Choice Neighborhoods Grant, 55 of those units are required to be relocated outside the Paseo Gateway neighborhood boundaries. The rest of the units will be relocated within the boundaries of the Grant guidelines – i.e. Historic Northeast. The rest of the apartments slated for the Barry Road and Platte Purchase area will be at market rate or above. The Dog tips her fedora to 1st District Councilman Scott Wagner for providing that bit of factual information.

Fact 2: As a society, we don’t warehouse the poor anymore. Old school projects like T.B. Watkins and Wayne Minor were a sad attempt to do just that and were demolished decades ago, as they should have been. The “scattered site” model is used today to disperse lower income families throughout the community at large in order to promote opportunity and upward mobility. A number of apartment projects built in the Northland in recent years have taken advantage of low income tax credits in order to make the project more viable. The stipulations in those tax credits dictate that a certain percentage of those units be dedicated to lower income families. In this case, less than 33% of the proposed units will be slated for Housing Choice vouchers.

Fact 3: If the bigoted and racist statements in that thread are any indication of how prejudiced Platte County residents have become over the years, this Dog is happy to have made the jump to the city’s urban core a long time ago. If the posts in that thread are to be believed, then some Northlanders’ idea of diversity is having a family of color over for the company picnic or the annual sub-division garage sale. Arms length, you understand.

Here’s a little note to the Northland flame-fanners so fearful of change and diversity. Get over yourselves. Your selfish little bucolic lives won’t be harmed one iota if this development moves forward. Here’s the dirty little secret: the people you’re so scared of sharing space with are already there. Never let facts get in the way of a good hate filled NIMBY screed though. Way to keep it classy, Northland.

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