I was going to smack up on Michelle Maglangadangadingdong today, but I think she's having enough fun with the blogs already. There were several other political minded posts that I had in mind, but I've gotten some bad news, and I'm just not in the mood. (Just for clarity, allow me to point out that the bad news has nothing to do with the content of this post.) So, allow me to present a new series that (at the rate I type) will probably take a while to unfold. Welcome to This Old Crack House.
The northeast neighborhood is a unique mix of homes and small businesses. Once the site of the Lehrkind Bottling Company, the former industrial district has undergone an urban Renaissance in recent years, becoming a home for artists and niche businesses.
Oh the HORROR! As you may have guessed, my home is in the "blighted" district. I haven't waded through the legalese enough to come to a firm opinion about the city's decision. On the one hand, it seems a good thing for development to embrace this neighborhood's needs, like sidewalks and streetlights. On the other hand, it isn't exactly appropriate in my mind for all the city taxpayers to fix what isn't broken. And the business-friendly attitude from the city isn't helping my mood about this. Though much of the comment on it comes from Kelo paranoia, the larger danger is that the city will foster businesses that are not compatible with the growing residential flavor of the area. We already have a lumber yard here (for the most part, very good neighbors). But we also have a new brew pub / tap room (extremely bad neighbors!!!!!), a bus garage, (suck!), several warehouse operations (even bigger suck!), and a new upscale condo-style development that would be a joke, if it didn't foster such an urge for the city to "improve" our little part of the town.
Many of the people that live here are very much like my beloved and I. We have dogs, we have trees and growth, we work to improve the quaint nature of our properties, and we try to get along in an area where we've been allowed to do that. One of our down street neighbors has planted a garden in her sidewalk median, for cripes sake. No covenants, few restrictions. That's Montana urban living. Unfortunately, I believe that's about to change. Though I certainly don't agree with everything she's written, I think Marjorie Smith puts this best:
I've told this story many times, but it bears repeating. The first northeast neighborhood Parade of Sheds was held on Sept. 15, 2001. I was flabbergasted at the number of people from snazzy neighborhoods who trooped through my backyard that day. I believe I know what they came for: that old, Norman Rockwellian America we wanted to believe we were still living in. They found it here, in our small-scale, random, cozy collection of small houses and sheds with home-made improvements and aspirations to even more (provided the city planners will let us make them on our tiny lots).
I have a pond in my back yard. There are trees on my property older that any of the city commissioners.
Some of the readers here have seen my little hobbit house, and have witnessed my back yard (or my front yard for that matter). Please tell me, does that look "blighted" to you? Yes, we put up with crappy neighbors who don't mow their weeds. Yes, we deal with business traffic that causes a hassle. But we also deal with a Bozeman police force that treats our neighborhood as an after thought. We deal with a city commission that sees us as a resource, instead of a boon. None of this is right. We're just people living, in the best way we can.
When my beloved and I bought this home, it was a center of urban blight. And so, I will over time present to you the story of This Old Crack House.