Paul McKee’s Plan Continues Neglect of the Northside

I love my neighborhood and I know my neighbors. Getting things done in my front garden is often hard because so many folks stop by to say hello. In general, the homes around me are well cared for by families who have lived here for years.

The Post-Dispatch recently described my neighborhood, the North Side: “Weeds grow, criminals flourish, the few remaining residents hang on for dear life” (“Give NorthSide a chance,” Dec. 21) and a Manchester resident said my neighborhood is “reminiscent of a war zone in the Middle East” (“McKee will help north St. Louis more than city has,” Jan. 4). The North Side is similar to the Middle East, I guess, in that people who do not live there think they are experts on it and can supply the answers (while the government supplies the area with more guns).

Descriptions like these — which carry undertones of racism — portray my neighborhood as an empty slate, waiting for some white savior to save us from ourselves. In driving through Manchester, I could see a soulless, sidewalk-devoid, box-store laden, white-washed town. But since I don’t live there, I would not presume to know nor understand the people or the issues that exist beyond my superficial impression.

The legacy of red-lining and racially influenced neglect by the city continues with Paul McKee’s plan; residents of the North Side still don’t have a say in this multimillion-dollar plan that will radically affect our lives. Weeds? Maybe, but the only thing that mars the view from my home is a house owned by McKee that has been crumbling for years.