Clark-Madison Unfair to University Neighborhoods

RECEIVED Thu., Jan. 29, 2004

Mr. Mike Clark-Madison,
    I'm a vocal, Central Austin denizen who lives five blocks north of campus in a two-bedroom bungalow built in 1924. I did move here, from fashionable SoCo, because I was "seeking the cultural vitality and diversity that comes from [living near] the students themselves." More than half of the people who live on my block are students. I have spent an enormous amount of time working on neighborhood issues, and I think it is irresponsible of you to characterize all or even some of us homeowners as "wealthy people" who "have worked overtime to keep students out of their neighborhoods" ["A Healthy Heart," News, Jan. 23].
    Our neighborhood is the third-densest neighborhood in the city. Students here rent our garage apartments, small houses, rooms in our bungalows, or the other half of our duplexes, and to say that we don't like them or would like to keep them out is utterly ridiculous. What we don't like is the greedy developers, often from out of town or across town, who raze old, small houses and build cheap, large buildings that they rent for exorbitant prices. (The superduplex on Duval [Street] and 35th, a supposedly single-family structure, rents for $8,000 a month.) These absentee landlords very often neglect the buildings and grounds, devaluing our properties (creating the sterility and blight you mentioned) and inspire some families to head to the ’burbs. Do you want to live next to a superduplex?
    To say that other campus neighborhoods besides West Campus "strenuously turn their back on the university" is ludicrous, at best. UNO is not, as you suggest, "simply a strategy to keep the vocal neighbors quiet." If you had spent the countless hours that I and many of my neighbors in the seven surrounding hoods have spent in meetings over the past year and a half, you would understand that our vision is not that simple.
Vocally yours,
Colleen Daly
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle