For several years, Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome has been promoting the redevelopment of Old South Baton Rouge and North Baton Rouge at every opportunity. While this is a noble endeavor, Broome seems to be unaware of why any developer with funds would choose not to invest in these communities. Here is a prime example: In the front of the Mayfair neighborhood, on Hyacinth Drive, there has been a construction project which involves the building of several townhomes. This project has been ongoing for several years and would be a wonderful addition to this neighborhood. Because I drive down this street often, I have seen the vandalism and destruction of this ongoing project at least three times in the last several years — vandalism such as bricks thrown through the newly constructed walls and windows. A developer struggling to finish a project, fighting the constant crime in the neighborhoods that Mayor Broome wishes to revitalize, does not bode well for the developer, and ultimately to the good people that live in these areas.
As a lifelong resident of South Baton Rouge, I agree that there is a need to revitalize these neighborhoods. However, there is a greater need to control the crime in these areas first. There seems to be little accountability and a total disregard for the destruction of property in these areas. These neighborhood communities see a plethora of crimes and this becomes the norm. This is the issue that should be addressed. Until this is not the norm in these areas, there will be no new developments that will occur; there is no real return on investment for the developer and, therefore, this is not a viable business decision.
Our police force is inundated with our increasing murder rate, most of which occur in the neighborhoods Broome wishes to promote developments such as the new townhomes in the Mayfair neighborhood. I would welcome Broome’s constant and consistent rhetoric to include not only the public support of our police officers who fight the crimes that continue to rise in all parts of our city, but to promote the good citizens of these neighborhoods to take an active part in their own development and recovery.