Grandpup Bonnie is back for a few weeks while her Mama and Papa are on a little trip.
Last Friday, I drove to New Orleans to pick her up from Camp BowWow. She was mighty happy to see me, and surprised, if you can tell from a get-me-outta-here Cavalier’s reactions.
She seems very pleased to be feeling the love again at her longtime day care, Camp Tupelo. She barks with great anticipation as we drive into the parking lot every weekday morning.
We’re having a fun visit, although I admit, the drive to day care has got me thinking – which isn’t always advised or welcomed.
Our usual drive has begun to look very shabby although Miss Bon is oblivious.
I am not, this time.
City Fathers and Mother, Tupelo voters, you may not want to read this, but substantial areas in our once-thriving city look like they are two steps from a slum.
Once proud and happy-family subdivisions are seas of for-rent signs. They’re long past for-sale.
I don’t know where their owners went, but they’ve left vacant properties that need the full-time occupancy of home ownership.
Studies show that when a neighborhood becomes strongly rental, instead of home-owned, property values start down and promote a cycle of decline.
I understand our city council and mayor continue to talk about local development, code enforcement and other property-related issues. They also seem a bit tepid when it comes to financial investments in neighborhood integrity.
I don’t know if any of them read this column, so those of you who do may want to “share” with your local council member.
My concern, and I hope yours, is this: Tupelo cannot wait for an act of God to bring improvements to our deteriorating neighborhoods.
T. Boone Pickens or Warren Buffett, in the Almighty’s stead, are not writing checks for that purpose either.
That means it’s up to us, well, our City Council to understand what’s at stake: the loss of property values, the loss of tax base etc., etc.
It’s up to us/them to do something.
I understand it’s important to be prudent. I also understand Tupelo may have more money in its savings account than is necessary to responsibly operate The All-American City.
If we don’t take heroic, creative measures with some rapidity to rehabilitate these declining neighborhoods, nothing good will come of it.
Maybe there’s a clever incentive program to offer property owners to improve their properties.
Maybe there are other ways to stimulate buyers to purchase these for-rent properties and make them available as starter houses for young families or retired folks.
Rehabilitating a street or neighborhood isn’t a new idea in Tupelo. It’s just not something that’s happened recently.
Unfortunately, that lack of attention has become painfully obvious.
The bottom line is this: If middle-class families are to live and succeed in Tupelo, they must have good housing and safe neighborhoods to do so.
If they don’t, they will leave. Maybe that’s what those for-rent signs are about.
Patsy R. Brumfield writes aThursday column. Contact herat (662) 678-1596 or firstname.lastname@example.org.