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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Why the original Hickory By Choice doesn't work

The Hickory By Choice 2030 Project
An anonymous poster commented in the article "Hickory By Choice 2030 Workshop: 1st Meeting": The original HBC plan was a good one. It was also created under a different city manager, different mayor, different council. Go figure.

Hickory by Choice has not been working. You can't blame Hickory By Choice on any of the city officials that were not present when HBC was instituted in 1999. The ideas behind it really are not implementable without major reconstruction and complete changes of reality. It is basically a dream, because the people behind it wanted to take an industrial city and turn it into a city with a sub-system of villages. We have to build a system around the realities of what people and the market demand, not what government wants to enforce.

The original HBC plan was essentially a scheme of self-preservation to please the Oakwood, Claremont, and other neighborhoods on the "right side of the tracks." It does not take into account the other parts of the city. Those other parts of the city were supposed to somehow fend for themselves within the structure laid out by this stifling Neighborhood Core system. The result: businesses continue to flock to the protected wealth areas of Hickory and the bad side of the tracks continue to deteriorate.

You want a statement of reality? What developer, proprietor, or corporation is going to want to build a neighborhood core around Ridgeview or Southwest Hickory under this current Hickory By Choice plan? They will continue to rot, while 127 and NW Hickory will continue the crowding process.

That neighborhood core (village) system might work in New York City, because NYC is built on a multitude of economies and 17 million people. It isn't going to work here without our local governmental leaders trying to run a completely authoritarian ship. It is like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. It isn't rooted in common sense, because it only helps those that are already established. It does nothing for start-up businesses or the up and comers who would like to take a chance on a riskier investment(which could lead to a greater reward) on what is perceived as "the wrong side of the tracks."

Market forces must be allowed to dictate commerce. The city can use creative encouragement to try to get businesses into blighted areas and away from what is being over developed, but the original plan looks like a plan that was put together by yuppie housewives. Common Sense shows that the results we have now are the consequences of the original vision. HBC was all about neighborhoods, and business was an afterthought to the equation.There was no taking into account that we need major commerce and industry inside the city limits to occur. That creates jobs for our citizens, while keeping the tax base inside of the city for the city to utilize for the citizen's well-being and quality of life.

Hickory City proper is basically a 5.5 mile by 5.5 mile area. Any commerce that occurs is going to abut neighborhoods. The key is not to run businesses off, because you don't like them. The key is to get neighborhoods to peacefully co-exist with businesses. And that is the order that it has to work. The bourgeois that came up with the original plan must realize that the rest of us have to work and earn a living wage. Most of us aren't able to do this in the society that this city has devolved into.

We don't have the advantage of many cities on the eastern seaboard. They were developed along a river or other body of water. We are landlocked, but we do have the Interstate, Highway, and a great geographical location to take advantage of, but are we fully taking advantage of those opportunities?

We can have a positive vision wrapped around the realities of life! The original HBC was a Utopian's dream. This plan must be rooted in Common Sense and principle.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am so seems you didn't like the powers that were with the original HBC...and you don't much care for the ones we have now. Nothing will ever be perfect. The city of Hickory will never build anything truly beneficial around the Ridgeview area because then they will not have an area of the city to "do good works" in. Truth be told, every city has a population of those 'less fortunate' than others, and they need a place to call their own just as everyone else does. The original HBC really didn't have much of a following. Parts of it would be pulled from time to time so a new idea for a new pet project could be stretched and presented to council with a note that it supported HBC by providing ________. Whatever was needed to be said so that it looked like something really good was coming along. Every so many years a new plan will be formulated, tagged with a cute name, referenced in presentations to council. There are people who love the current good ol' boy network they work for because the former administration wasn't as good ol' boy as they may have appeared to be. It isn't who you know, but who you can act like you know because it makes you look important. HBC in any shape or form is a waste of resources.