(Latest posts on such topics as Neighborhoods, Southside, Affordable Housing)
Kate McVey is a concerned citizen, 30-year resident of Bethlehem, professional organizer, dog owner, mother of two children, been around, kosher cook . . . explorer.
As I sat recently at a City Council meeting [July 2] listening to the heartfelt pleas of the residents from Hillside and around, I couldn’t help but think: are we re-inventing the wheel? Surely this has happened everywhere there is a university. So this is not new. So what has happened to those communities where developers want to take over the properties of thriving neighborhoods? There must be statistics. Look at Ann Arbor, look at Columbus, Pittsburgh, and Philly.
What I feel is that everyone loses their homes, but the universities win. More students, more revenue, someone at the top is making money. Unless we become like Aspen where city workers could not afford to live in Aspen and the town ended up building affordable housing units for their workers, which are awarded through lottery. Could this become Bethlehem?
There have to be statistics somewhere. The Council is not going to listen to heartfelt stories and cries from the residents. But they might listen to statistics and maybe facts. What has happened in those cities where the students/universities have taken over? Has it been good for the towns?
I think we need facts for fights. That is all I’m saying.
Kate importantly reinforces Gadfly Antalics’ basic question — “How do other communities with student populations address the issue?” — as well as Councilwoman Van Wirt’s oft-repeated call for data.