Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Dead Poets Society

I wasn't at last night's Akron City Council meeting, but folks who were there tell me it was an interesting dynamic. Residents fighting to save their homes and neighborhoods in contrast to those who understand the challenges city leaders are facing in trying to keep Goodyear from moving to a warmer climate.

I have to empathize with some of the residents who claim they've done a good job keeping their properties clean and up-to-date. Some have even received notes from the Mayor's office telling them they've done a good job. Those same people then had to watch Monday night as elected leaders declared their neighborhood "blighted" as though it was so run down there was no way to resurrect it. Would it still be considered blighted if the area wasn't a future home for Goodyear? If it's blighted now, why was it blighted three or four years ago so the necessary eminent domain and investment dollars could have been leveraged to prop up the neighborhood sooner?

I think a great many others see the big picture of how important it is to save Goodyear and the jobs and $$ that follow. Isn't buying up a few dozen homes and businesses a small sacrifice to make if it means better economic development for the entire area? Guess that depends on whether you live on the Dead Poets Streets: Twain, Poe, etc .. who will be the ones facing eminent domain.

I sense that some of the council members themselves are uneasy about pushing some of the residents and businesses to eventually sell the places where they've made memories. Still, how could they look in the faces of the rest of the tax payers and admit that they hadn't done everything they could to save Goodyear?

There are those who believe Akron is fighting a battle it can't win. That in the end, Charlotte or some other Carolina calling card will be answered and the wingfoot warriors will be long gone. I'm hopeful that Goodyear will stay true to its legacy and realize its current hometown loves it so much that it's ready to buy out poor, inner-city folks and their homes just to make the tire people happy if that's what it takes.

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