Whitewater Common Council Meeting, 10.20.20: Basics and Buildings

The Whitewater Common Council met briefly last night, 10.20.20. The agenda for the meeting is available, and a recording of the session appears above.

Two different topics are worth noting (for different reasons): autumn leaf collection and a building rehabilitation project.

A few remarks — 

1. Leaf collection. The city has many homes & apartments, the homes & apartments have yards, the yards have trees, and as most trees shed their leaves in the fall, the city collects bagged leaves from residents’ yards. (Video, 08:55.) It’s a government service, but a small, innocuous, helpful one. In a time of walls and cages and paramilitary federal agents, leaf collection is more than a service – its a kind of balm.

If all government were so small and simple – and it is not – one would have far fewer concerns.

2. A Community Development Investment Grant from the WEDC. Council unanimously approved a grant application for the rehabilitation of a commercial building at 183 W. Main Street (the storefront shop at that location sells antiques). (Video, 12:00.)  The grant covers a portion of the rehabilitation cost.

In the video embedded above, slides show the expected difference between the current building and an architect’s rendering of a rehabilitated one – if the finished work looks as illustrated, it will be a significant improvement.

If there men and women outside the city who wish to rehabilitate properties, they should be encouraged to do so. If there are people who outside the city who have rehabilitated nearly a dozen properties, they should be encouraged to look at a dozen more. (Whitewater does not lack for properties in need.)

It is a measure of our unfortunate local condition that we’ve not a market strong enough to encourage private investment without government grants.

It is a measure of our unfortunate local own condition that we’ve not more local developers doing something like this.

It is a measure of decades-long failure that since its founding in 1983 the Whitewater Community Development Authority has not ‘developed’ this market so that individual and household incomes would be closer to the national average (rather than low-income across many demographics), allowing – among many things – that Whitewater’s own residents would be able to undertake more projects of rehabilitation in their own city.

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