By DAVID R. FRAZIER, editor
I have been a resident and home owner of the Vista Neighborhood for nearly 50 years. Over that half century I have watched as Boise’s city fathers and mothers–past and present–have dumped house trailers, low cost housing, sex offenders, skinny houses, refugees, and assorted “assistance programs” in our neighborhood.
To be fair, for the most part these deals were probably well intended. The latest plan is a high dollar deal to “Energize Vista.” To be realistic, most of the deals have flaws. To be cynical, there is probably little hope of any true “improvement.”
Eric Lowe is a good example of the old joke, “We’re from the government and we are here to help you.” Lowe owns a produce market at the corner of Overland and Columbus. He is open all year and sells the typical assortment of produce. Everything from apples to oranges, melons, tomatoes, fresh milk, etc.
Boise City in cooperation with the Farmer’s Market downtown has begun to compete directly with Lowe in an effort to “bring nutrition” to the poor folks living in the Oak Park apartments near Cherry Lane and Vista. The City is subsidizing a refrigerated trailer stocked with fresh produce that makes stops at the apartment complex–much like the Schwan’s frozen food guy. We think a free taxi or shuttle to Lowe’s market would be cheaper.
“The city never contacted me and I will have trouble staying open if these guys from downtown come into my area with subsidized competition,” lamented Lowe.
Pointing across the street to a rental property and a pair of skinny houses he added, “Those houses have never had anyone in them more than a year. We establish a customer base and they all move away.”
There in lies the problem. Skinny houses are allowed with multiple tenants–usually college students. Granted, the structures are probably visual improvements over the original structures, but cars are parked helter-skelter along the street and the occupants are transient in nature. The houses don’t attract upscale occupants.
Meanwhile, Boise planners and politicos proudly tout their efforts at creating upscale housing in the downtown area where taxes on improvements are all diverted away from all local governments and schools to benefit CCDC and developers.
To insure more advertising-free Boise Guardian news, please consider financial support.