by Michael Lowrey
Seems that the city wants to spend $50,000 on a consultant’s report — don’t call it a study — that summaries previous studies on what to do with the previous Eastland Mall site. This is apparently the next step in the process of the city deciding what to do with the site. Per the Charlotte Observer:
Some City Council members appeared frustrated that the city hasn’t been able to find a developer to build something on the site, which was once the commercial hub of east Charlotte.
“My first reaction is, ‘Wow, we have studied this to death,’ ” said council member Al Austin. “I hope we can build upon this. The community is just done (with waiting).”
John Autry, who represents the area, asked: “What will this tell us that we don’t already know?”
The issue isn’t so much trying to figure out what we don’t know as it’s publicly admitting what the core problem is with the east side of town: the housing stock in the area is largely obsolescent. Small, dated housing attracts working class families. Their limited income results in limited shopping and dinning options in the area. And that’s not something that’s easily fixed.
The great danger is that city council will throw public money at some hair-brained scheme simply so that pols can show that they care and say they’ve done something to help the east side. That whatever the development turns out to be would likely fail within a year or two politically almost doesn’t matter at this point.
Bonus thought: The latest idea? Put a pond on the Eastland site as part of a park. I doubt that will go over well with area residents.