Stop the Gentrification in the Fall Hill area (An Editorial by Belinda Graves)

Being Sociology major at the University of Mary Washington, I have been particularly interested in the developments occurring on Fall Hill Avenue. Being a resident of Fredericksburg I have noticed that over the past two years lots of construction has been occurring in an area where predominantly low-income families reside. 476 apartments, 453 townhomes, and 59 single-family detached homes are located in what has now become a construction zone (Adopted by Fredericksburg’s City Council, p. 181). An eight-month project has recently ended on Fall Hill Avenue that rebuilt the Rappahannock Canal Bridge. It was not until the construction for the widening of Fall Hill took place that I began to notice a problem. The soon to be four-lane road is located in front of at least 5 residential developments that has made me realize gentrification is occurring right here in Fredericksburg.

The construction that is occurring is right smack in the middle of an area where thousands of low-income Fredericksburg inhabitants reside. These families are losing their recreation for at least another year until the widening project is finished. Scott Shenk wrote an article in 2014 about the Fall Hill widening project and he states that, “ A new court, playground, and baseball field will be built nearby after the road project is completed” (Shenk, 2014). Nearby? Where is nearby? That statement automatically makes me question whether or not there is really going to be recreational facilities in a near walking distance for the residents like there once was in the past. The loss of recreation in this community is cruel, these families are low-income and having recreation, in my opinion is vital for the everyday struggles and pressures that people in poverty have to endure.

The developments that are being planned for Fall Hill are going to create a newly gentrified community and allow for economic evictions. Building investors and real estate agents are going to capitalize on the property that is currently occupied. The construction is being “privately funded by those who will develop the intervening land” (Adopted by Fredericksburg’s City Council, p. 184). These developers are free to do what they want with the land. Investors will see that the residents who are living in the current properties are renters and locate the landlords and buy them out. Landlords will find ways to get their tenants out whether through forms of intimidation or rent increases if investors offer the right price.

The forms of economic eviction that I just mentioned will create a space where social backgrounds will begin to mix and potentially conflict. When different social backgrounds begin to mix tensions are going to arise causing the native inhabitants to be pushed out of their neighborhoods. Bragg Hill, a former name for the now Central Park Townhomes community, is proof that a new culture is trying to be created. Once people who are not used to the community move in they will begin to complain and bring about issues that have never been presented before. Laws can be enforced and created to satisfy the more desirable residents that the developers and investors want to attract.

The developments that are taking place on Fall Avenue can potentially lead to a disruption in the community that already exists. The families have already lost their recreation and wait for new recreation to be built. They are at risk for economic eviction due to the capital investments that are possible from the new restorations that are currently occurring. Lastly, the mixing of social backgrounds can bring about negative results because of the unfamiliarity and conflicting cultural differences. In order to reduce the threat of families being pushed out of their neighborhoods, I recommend civic engagement to spread the word and gain support for the tenants in the Fall Hill area. The development that is currently going on may not seem like a threat now, but in the future I see negative results occurring and it is up to the people to volunteer and organized to protect their communities.

 

 

Works Cited

Adopted by Fredericksburg’s City Council. City of Fredericksburg Comprehensive Plan.

Shenk, S. (2014, December 4). Plans Laid out for Fall Hill Avenue Project. The Free Lance-Star .

Reaction Paper 3 Race and Place in Baltimore Riots

In class we were exposed to the riots that occurred in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles in the 19th century.  We looked in depth at Abu-Lughod’s book Race, Space and Riots: In Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles, this book highlighted the issues of race and space in terms of riots.  This paper will explore the influence of these two factors in the riots that took place in Baltimore.  How did space and race influence the riots?  Were both factors equally influential in the events that took place?

Paper written by Taylor Ford (Section #1)

Reaction Paper #3

Just Some Thoughts.. Media Power?

I came across this article when researching some ideas to support my argument for my last reaction paper. I thought it might be an interesting read for some of you. I want to suggest that we all take a step back and think about the role that the media plays in our knowledge of issues such as riots and police brutality that we have discussed in class. The media tells us countless stories and shows us images of violence by law enforcement, but do we ever stop to think about how much POWER the media truly has? The majority of us get all of our information from the news or social media, but with media often comes clear bias which not all members of the public are able to account for. These are just some thoughts I have been wrestling with as we have discussed these topics over the past few weeks. (:

 

http://www.cnn.com/2015/08/07/opinions/arnold-police-shootings/

For your 2nd research project – PLEASE READ THIS

Hiya folks!

I’m about done working through your research papers, and what strikes me is (a) how much work you all have put into these interesting, creative projects; and (b) how much work I am putting into reading and thinking through your interesting, creative projects.

This is more work on BOTH ends than I’d intended.

So I have an option to suggest for you for research project 2.

Go make your community better. Choose what you mean by “community,” what you mean by “better.” But do it in such a way that acknowledges or impacts the distribution of power in that community. (Ah! There’s the catch! Because you have to think through how your type of community engagement is related to issues of power in the community!) When you are done, write up 3-4 paragraphs on what you did, why you chose that option, and how it did/did not work to have an impact on your community, distribution of power within it. **I would like to also encourage you to work with a partner or a group – because we’ve seen that collective action tends to have more impact than individual actions – but this is just a suggestion.

Your alternative – and this may appeal to some of you!! – is to keep research project #2 as previously assigned.

I welcome feedback – we can talk about this anytime.

LM

Next reaction paper due date… and final “research paper” due date

Hi folks –

I’ve had a request to move the due date for the next reaction paper. NO problem! Let’s move it to 11/6. You can OF COURSE turn it in earlier than that date. Do recognize that the final reaction paper deadline is 11/23.

Your final “research paper” is due Dec 4th, the last day of class. It says this on the hard copy syllabus I gave you – it does not currently say this in the readings/schedule section of the blog.

**I’ve changed the time stamp on the blog, it *should* be accurate now.

More questions? Holler.

LM

FOR FRIDAY

Good day, intrepid Community Power students!

 

Section1 : for Friday we will be exploring the materials in the students/admin/protests section – including the Title IX complaint.

Section2: We will be looking at the policies clump of materials – to include strategic plan, alternative course model, etc.

In both cases, our goal is to explore who is making decisions, what their interests are, whose voices are being heard. So, we will talk about the content of these documents, sure, but we are doing so with the end goal of talking about the forces that shape these documents. We will also talk about what consequences/responses arise from these documents, events and experiences.

Holler with questions.

LM