FUNKADELIC FRIDAY: GENTRIFICATION IS ALIVE AND WELL!

downtown-savannah

 

According to a dictionary that I referenced online, ‘gentrification’ is “a process of renovation and revival of deteriorated urban neighborhoods by means of influx of more affluent residents, which results in increased property values and the displacing of lower-income families and small businesses. This is a common and controversial topic in urban planning.”

A week or so ago, there was a “Urbanism lecture series”  held where  Mayor Riley of Charleston, South Carolina spoke.  He stated, “a  CITY should be a place where the hearts of ALL THE CITIZENS CAN SING.” Many Savannah city officials were in attendance and sang the praises afterward of what they heard and felt (a lot like many do after hearing a preachers sermon in church).  CLEARLY IT DID NOT STICK because they are continuing what they were doing before the Urbanism Series (like what happens after hearing a preachers sermon in church).   I am not surprised but I am deeply hurt and disappointed in the callousness of some officials of the City Council of Savannah (all who were elected by their constituents), the Metropolitan Planning Committee of the city of Savannah (comprised of volunteers and Mayor appointees), and the complacency of many residents of the affected gentrified, and soon to be, gentrified communities.

A group of older rich white ladies saw that many historical buildings were being destroyed during the eighties so they got together and with a great deal of work and planning, founded an organization in Savannah, Georgia that restored the remaining historic sites instead of them being destroyed FOR THE SAKE OF PROGRESS.  Many of these places were in communities where resources were not readily offered or available to those who lived there.  Thus, GENTRIFICATION began and now many folks who knew and created the history of many of these communities have been forced out.  People who do not know the history of the communities in which they now  reside and who do not have a stake in the economy,  or care about the well being of those  displaced  residents,  are now basking in the glow of “living in a historic city/community” with little to no regard for it’s origins or originators.  GENTRIFICATION IS ALIVE AND WELL.

A community called Frogtown is now filled with ‘millennials’ who have not a clue about the slaves that put the Savannah Brick in the ground that they walk on.  They have not a clue that many black owned businesses thrived in this area but were decimated when a highway flyover was placed there LITERALLY splitting the neighborhood in two, thus cutting it’s life support, i.e. the black residents that could walk there to get their fruits and vegetables, and whatever other necessities needed.  It is no longer the FROGTOWN of it’s hayday but Frogtown in name ONLY.

GENTRIFICATION IS ALIVE AND WELL.

There once was a Howard Johnson and a Ramada Inn at the foot of the Tallmadge Bridge on the Savannah side.  Many banquets for black organizations were held at these places because there were affordable  but even their footprint has been completely erased.  The Ramada Inn is now a dormitory for Savannah College of Art and Design, as well as the Howard Johnson. Now banquets are held in rented out church fellowship halls.

GENTRIFIATION IS ALIVE AND WELL.

To Be Continued

~~~Malinda Gwyn~~~~

 

 

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