Monday, May 24, 2004


I am very pro-historic preservation. But, I don't get opposition to this request (third bullet item) to the Land Use Control Board, and I live right by it!

Seems that the alley right behind my apartments is slated to be covered over by new, replacement, construction on Union Avenue, between Barksdale and Avalon. The Land Use Control Board has approved it, but some attorney and "several neighbors" are opposing on the grounds that:
Several area residents objected to changing the alley. "This alley has been there for 112 years," said attorney Skip Parnell. "They are destroying the residential aspect of this neighborhood."
Have they actually been there? Lived next to it? NOt even drivers looking for a short-cut to Union use it. There is no "residential aspect" to the alley. None at all.

Turn in from Avalon to the parking lot behind Midtown Video. Look straight ahead. That's "Monroe Alley." There is no sign to mark it in any way. All along the north side are fences that block access to Monroe itself with only one exception. That's a currently vacant lot that was filled in by Loeb Properties with a lot of dirt trucked in from somewhere else (isn't that illegal?) when they built a spec house on a lot in the middle of the block. You can't cross the lot to get to the alley now.

The south side of the alley is all businesses. Only the tanning studio next to Midtown Video and the Antique Mall make use of their back entrances. Everything else is closed off. All you see back there is bums and winos looking for a place to crash and drug. One winter morning on my way to work, I smelled a fire. Checking it out, I saw a few street people under part of the back roof near the Antique Mall with a large fire going to keep themselves warm. I left them alone, then called the police later. That's what goes on back there.

Most of the stores along that strip are pretty old and decrepit. Only a few are modern, or even well-maintained. Loeb proposes to raze the whole eastern end and rebuild farther back on the lot. In this case, I say OK! We aren't going to lose anything of value or use here. My only concern is the pedestrian sidewalk space along Union which, like almost all the rest of this part of the street, will not be clear. I can't count the number of times I've had dipshits almost run me over on Union while I was walking along.

Anyway, simply saving something solely because it's old, regardless of utility or value or historical meaning is mindless. "Monroe Alley" isn't used, is a danger, and its historical value has never been exploited or promoted. Let's move on.

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