“It became necessary to destroy the town to save it.”Peter Arnett quoting a US Army source, Vietnam, 1968
We were worried that an unintended consequence of the projects would be a net loss of housing in Boonville. Well, scratch that. It’s now clear that loss of housing is an intended consequence of the plan.
The neighborhoods that were to be saved by the clean drinking water and sanitary sewer plan will be destroyed by it. Consider the Haehl St. neighborhood. Most of the lots in the neighborhood have an original single family house and one or more additional housing structures such as double-wide trailers and other temporary structures that many families call home. Under the plan, only the original legal structure will be eligible for hookups. Worse, the plan will bring scrutiny from the County that will lead to the removal of the additional structures and will limit occupancy of the original legal structure to a single family.
Proponents of the plan readily acknowledge the truth of this. They shield themselves from responsibility by saying that they will not be the ones carrying out the evictions.
Proponents of the plan also tell us that once the illegal structures are cleared, the hookups will allow construction of new granny units on eligible parcels, never mind that most of the parcels in the Haehl St. neighborhood are too small to be eligible. Even for the one or two that might be large enough, construction of a new granny unit will cost in excess of $300,000, putting that option well outside of the modest budgets of most parcel owners.
Some might celebrate this forced gentrification, but it will come at the cost of untold suffering brought upon the families whose homes will be lost. And their loss will be our loss as a community. These are families that work and contribute. Their children attend our schools. They are brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers. If this comes to pass, what will those who remain of our shattered community do for them? Hold a bake sale? Take up a collection? Or will we turn our backs and tell ourselves that it was for the greater good?