You've got to love subsidized-housing bureaucrats. Every time a project becomes a crime-infested pesthole, one comes along and figures out what went wrong! This time, we'll correct all those mistakes, and we'll have a housing project that really works! Indianapolis Housing Agency chief Bud Myers is the latest one with the brilliant idea, winning the approval of a very unskeptical columnist:
Red Maple is subsidized housing as it should be. Done right, such developments have amenities like parks and offices for job placement programs, as well as GED and preschool classes. They have nice-looking apartments and single-family homes, with layouts that look like what you'd find in Fishers, and drug testing for those hoping to move in.
The plan is for Red Maple to have all that.
"It all helps erase the stigma of public housing," Myers said as we walked through the development one morning last week. "This is a community. (In the past), public housing was laid out like barracks. Or a reservation. This one isn't."
[. . .]
With down-payment assistance, two-story homes will cost homeowners between $70,000 and $90,000. Apartments will go for $50 to $825 a month, depending on income.
Whatever their cost, residents will live in a walkable neighborhood with pretty homes, nearby parks and a pool. Last week, as I talked to Myers, a tenant stopped in the community center to use a computer lab, underscoring this development's unique nature.
I don't think you turn a housing project into a "community" just by calling it one and providing a lot of amenities. A community grows over time as people move in and out and a shared history is created. It doesn't spring out of a planner's set of blueprints. And creating a mixed-income utopia is every social engineer's fondest dream, isn't it? People who can afford a $90,000 home don't mind if it's right next to a $50-a-month apartment? Please. Those with good inten