Monday, July 07, 2008

LionStone Blight

I took a walk around the property between Demonbreun and Music Circle East this morning. It's here that Miss Joy Ford's County International Records is located. That's the property that MDHA wants to take from her and give to LionStone developers so they can build a big tax revenue generator for the city. If they succeed this is where we'll add shame to the city and 15 years down the road we'll regret allowing this robbery from the widow and handout to the corporation.

MDHA's authority to steal this property from Miss Joy comes by declaring the area 'blighted'. However, what I saw with my own eyes was Miss Joy's small neatly kept business. She's got flowering plants out front. The property is fenced, no doubt since over the years she's been there this area hasn't always been nice. The fence is in good repair, unlike the motel's next door which is majorily out of plumb. Her trash can is secured to the fence and it's obvious this property is regularly maintained.

However, the rest of the area. The part LionStone already has control of, if I understand things correctly, is in shameful condition and if the word 'blighter' can only be applied to one or the other---it's LionStone that should hands down get the label.

On my walk around I saw two sections to this very large LionStone lot. Half was asphalt in sore need of attention with cracks and potholes and the rest bare ground with a solid weedy border encircling it. There were several large mosquito attracting puddles, plenty of trash (including some kind of two foot cylindrical filter amongst the Styrofoam clamshells and drink cups and a plywood box stuffed with trash), overgrown or dead hedges left over from the Shoney's restaurant, tall grass, thistles in full bloom, stick-tights and other vegetative opportunists. The overgrowth was so bad along one part of the sidewalk I was forced to walk in the street. The contrast between this LionStone property and the landscaping and thriving businesses along side on Demonbreun was stark. If anyone is bringing down the property values and beer buzz in those establishments--it's LionStone.

Here's a photo of one of three puddles after several days of dry weather.

Lots of weeds, nearly all with a variety of litter caught within.

These are dead hedges about 4 feet tall.

Along Music Circle South Division it's thick with weeds.

This is some sort of trash box on the LionStone property.

In the shadow of the trees left behind after the Shoney's Restaurant was demolished there was a man doing a steady business out of his trunk and on his cell phone. I didn't dare point my camera in his direction. Further down, there were a couple of private ambulance employees in their cab who seemed startled to see me walk by with a camera and shortly moved on. (Apparently, Channel 5's Phil Williams and his exposes on extra long employee breaks came to their minds.)

If this were my neighborhood, I'd have called codes on LionStone long ago and demanded a prompt mowing, trash removal and filling in of the puddles and potholes that could be mosquito breeding grounds. I'd also have checked with the local police department to ensure a trespass waiver was on file and the property posted to ensure that the fellow doing a steady business from the trunk of his car was encouraged to move on.

It's landlords like LionStone that make neighborhood's blighted, not Miss Joy. It's just wrong that the property owner being a responsible neighbor is the one being forced out.

If you haven't written your councilman and the mayor yet. Please take a few minutes to do so. YOUR property is at stake if we allow the city to take property merely because it will generate more tax revenue.

For further reading checking out Blue Collar Muse's "Will the Circle Be Unbroken" Part I and Part II.

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