I’m So Conflicted

The historic district is fighting with developers or something. The main fight seems to be about a condo project slated for the lot next to JD’s. The historic district – which we all know is Chocktaw for “where the white people live” – doesn’t want the project. The people who want to build it do, naturally.

While I think the last thing this town needs is a brick shitbox of gameday condos, I can’t say I’m stoked about historic district folks making these decisions. Protect those neighborhoods yes, but outside em? Eh. Also, this may have something to do with me hating these assholes for watering their lawns at like 5 p.m. There’s a fucking drought on people and believe it or not sometimes people actually walk and run places. Fuck.

Does this “city” even have a city planner? Or is there a chicken named Joe who helps city council make decisions sometimes?

(i realize this images makes no sense, but sometimes you find a picture of a t-rex riding a penny farthing.)


3 thoughts on “I’m So Conflicted

  1. Bebe Barefoot says:

    There is more than one historic district in Tuscaloosa, and they’re designated not for segregation purposes (as you imply) but rather to save beautiful old buildings and homes and neighborhoods from being destroyed by developers’ greed. Those areas with this designation are supposedly protected by special ordinances designed to maintain historic integrity and character, but this does not always work and the only way that it can work is if the people living in or near the spaces fight those who are hellbent on destroying them for their own profit. I know you weren’t around when The Chukker was in its full glory, for example, but I think probably that, given your close association with Egan’s, you are aware of The Chukker’s cultural and artistic significance. What you might not know was that years ago it was placed on the national register of historic places. Sadly, that didn’t save it from being bulldozed to make way for that phallic monstrosity otherwise known as a federal court building. Maybe if someone had fought harder, it would still be around. Would you prefer that no one fight for these other areas’ integrity? Every time the developers get their way, another precedent is set and the protective ordinances lose more teeth. Historic neighborhoods and buildings have that designation so that there is at least a ghost of a chance that our city maintains some character. Please know that I respect your right to rant and I think there is a place for your brand of journalism, but if you’re going to hide behind the cloak of anonymity, your credibility is especially important. A little research goes a long way. You spend a good bit of time complaining about Tuscaloosa, so it would be really great if you would recognize the importance of these kinds of protests if you truly want the city to be the kind of place you’d like to live.

    • uglytusk says:

      ok, did some research. I think you make a lot of valid points and I’m not discounting any of them. My issue with this particular condo project is that it sits outside of the historic district. I think every effort in the world should be made to preserve historical buildings, especially when you consider this town’s penchant for big box stores and gross condos. I do think that if this condo project goes through, it will be a nightmare. It will be half full, ugly and probably be mostly gameday condos. However, I think when the historic districts start telling people what to do outside their districts, it reeks of nimby-ism. I think if anything, the city should make a concerted effort to get developers to repurpose all the beautiful, empty buildings downtown instead of building generic new construction.

      I also have a hard time believing that “historic district” is anything other than a light racial code. The TCPS was established in 1966 and all the districts lie in predominantly wealthy, white areas. Though there is one historic district in the west end…at the country club.

      Anyhoo, this post was mostly written so I could make that Chocktaw joke. Thanks for actually considering this little venture journalism, lord knows we don’t. Also, please don’t think we don’t love Tuscaloosa. We do. We love lots about it, but we also recognize that it remains mired in a lot of the issues that afflict Alabama statewide. We think it’s time for a change. We think Tuscaloosa has a real opportunity to be at the forefront of that change.

      Also, send us shows at the Green Bar and we’ll promote them 🙂

  2. Bebe Barefoot says:

    Thanks for your thoughtful reply. You also make valid points, but one other thing you might not know: the ordinances allow for protests if a project or anything else is visible from or would otherwise affect a historic district even if it isn’t in it. Residents become vocal because if they aren’t, silence is seen as approval. A good case in point: 8th Street between Queen City and campus. You’ve probably noticed the three really ugly apartment buildings, and I think you’ve been here long enough to remember the gorgeous old home that was leveled so the developer could build the newest of these. It would have probably not taken any more investment to have renovated the old home and chopped it into nice apartments. 8th Street (or part of it) is actually designated historic, but silence was seen as approval and it led to the street being ruined and all of the homeowners fled to other places because of the noise and also because the student rentals lowered their property values. It has become a trashed-out area where undergraduates rent because former homeowners were not vocal when the first developers started buying property. The ordinances are also strict on residents; homeowners in historic districts have to maintain architectural integrity. You also make a valid point about the “whiteness” of the districts, but other than the country club designation, the residential historic districts are all near campus. If they wanted to keep anyone out, it was probably students (undergrads)–a decidedly white, upper-middle-class group on this campus. My husband and I live in a historic neighborhood because we love arts and crafts style architecture and we love being near downtown and campus. I can tell you that many of us my neighborhood and an adjacent historic section fight an almost daily battle to keep one corner of an adjacent street (designated historic) from becoming a trashed out fraternity annex. People actually buy these homes and let their kids live in them and rent out rooms (also illegal). I personally have no problem with the students living where they want to, but I do have a problem with them not respecting the neighborhoods and the beauty of the architecture, as well as ignoring laws that are in place to maintain character and integrity. And thanks for your Green Bar comment; I’ve been under the impression the show schedules were being sent to you. I will pass the word and I’m sure that the person responsible will start sending the info! Oh, and one more thing: you really should consider what you’re doing to be journalism. I think it’s a throwback (and I mean that in the best way) to 18th century pamphleteers–and they really started what we think of as modern journalism.

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