August 15, 2007

Tear Down the Projects, and Build a Golf Course

I mean two golf courses. And a YMCA:
The wrecking ball hasn't been ordered for the vacant complexes -- the St. Bernard in the Seventh Ward, the C.J. Peete in Central City and the Lafitte near Treme -- and the partially re-opened B.W. Cooper.

But at its regular monthly meeting Wednesday, HANO officials checked off a few more bureaucratic chores needed for the massive redevelopment, approving four "pre-development agreements" with the firms they have chosen to redesign public housing in New Orleans.

Those plans call for a vastly different landscape for low-income housing in post-Katrina New Orleans: A revitalized St. Bernard with two 18-hole "championship" golf courses and a 45,000-square-foot YMCA, free for the complex's public housing residents, and two charter schools.
How about we build affordable housing where housing existed before Katrina, and build golf courses where golf courses wait to be fixed, like at City Park:
The Park made an initial claim for damages to the three courses (not the buildings or golf equipment, which are the subject of separate claims) at approximately $4.0 million. FEMA’s initial estimate of eligible damage was $350,000. To date, three different damage estimates have been calculated and given to FEMA to evaluate.


The German said...

That is truly puzzling on several accounts. Weird that they would rather build new ones than fix the ones we already have. While I'm not sad to see the projects go, in no way is building golf courses a legitimate function of government. Surely there are better uses for public money.

Puddinhead said...

Not puzzling at all. One way (really, the ONLY way) you get people to live in market rate housing in very close proximity to subsidized housing is by making that market rate housing very attractive somehow. People lived near (but not right NEXT to) the St. Bernard in some pretty pricy homes only because it meant living right on Bayou St. John. Likewise, people will purchase golf course lots (the developers and HUD are betting, anyway) even if they're interspersed with subsidized housing. Or more people will buy than would if there weren't a golf course to live on, anyway.