January 24, 2011

Should Redevelopment Agencies Get the Axe?

Gabriel Metcalf, of SPUR fame, has a good op-ed defending Redevelopment Agencies.
... it's worth pointing out that we are talking about eliminating the tool central cities use to attract growth that would otherwise go to the suburban periphery.
For me, best outcome of this attn to Redevelopment Agencies will be better oversight. A clipping of wings, not elimination.

Two commenters on this op-ed nicely articulated the pro and con argument for RAs:


Dive in deeper to some of San Francisco's large redevelopment projects and you will see that the trade-off Brown is creating between redevelopment and public services is a false one. As part of the Mission Bay deal, private land is being donated to the San Francisco Unified School District for a new public school; funding and construction of a playground accompanying the new school is a required deal point; land and funding is being provided to the City to build a new local fire and police station; space was built to house the first new public library in San Francisco in 30 years. The Treasure Island deal has many of the same public services being supported in its redevelopment program. These are examples of how redevelopment can and should work, resulting in economic development AND needed public services.


"Used wisely..."

That's the problem Gabriel - they aren't used wisely. The LA Times documented the waste by redevelopment agencies. We've seen redevelopment here in Alameda fund boondogle parking garage projects.
The LAT did run an excellent two-part series about redevelopment abuses, and it had an awesome title: Arrested Redevelopment (Links: one and two). LAT also published financial records from city redevelopment agencies to toss some daylight on whether they were meeting their minimum requirements for affordable housing. Great stuff.

But as the first commenter showed, when done right, a redevelopment project will do more than hoard affordable housing monies or build skyscrapers on razed neighborhoods that formerly belonged to low-income people of color.

No comments:

Post a Comment