Blighted Boondoggle

In an effort to “clean up”, cities like to rid themselves of decrepit properties. Millville is no different. Holly Berry Court is such a place. These are rental properties that the Millville Housing Authority operates. The 49 apartments are a drug haven. That has had a lot to do with why the area is decrepit.

“My apartment looks like a trashcan, and I live in it,” the 11-year Holly Berry Court resident said. “It was OK when I moved in, even though I was told it was against my better judgment to do so.

Of course, public rentals cannot be destroyed without replacing them with an equal or greater number of apartments. That is exactly what Millville wants to do. It has applied to HUD for funds to re-build.

Yet, there’s a problem. The reason the current property is run-down is because of crime in the area.

A large part of the problem, Gravett said, is crime and the Housing Authority’s inability to do much about it.

Of course, the blame is put upon President Bush for cutting HUD funds. Even conceding the obvious shot, there will still be no money to fight this crime in a HUD-funded complex should the Bush Administration funds come through.

Re-building without solving the problem means that the new building will be sitting right in the middle of the crime area . . . just where the current building is. Are we to believe that a sparkling building in the same blighted area will go undamaged?

As much as I want to see my town improved, squandering tax dollars on this project is not good politics. We spend $3.8 million on police salaries in our town. Perhaps there needs to be a concerted effort at Holly Berry Court before the new digs arrive.  Otherwise, we can document the damage to our tax dollars.

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