Enough gentrification, already.
Cities around the country need to ensure that, as they develop and redevelop their downtowns, affordable housing is part of the plans.
Gentrification and non-sustainable building construction are problems in cities that are rebuilding their downtown areas.
For example, today the City of Fargo (N.D.) Community Development Committee will consider competing proposals for downtown housing units. One proposal, from a St. Paul, Minn.-based “public benefit firm,” will provide affordable housing for people who live and work downtown. The other is from a Fargo-based development group with a history of building luxury units for the affluent.
I wrote the following email to committee members urging them to approve the former (below). If you are a citizen of Fargo, please do the same before the committee meets at 2:30 p.m. today. If you do not live in Fargo, please monitor what your city is proposing for your downtown; make sure equity and affordable housing are incorporated into the plans.
Hello, (Committee Member):
I am writing to urge you, as a member of the Fargo Community Development Committee, to vote during your 2:30 p.m. meeting today in favor of the proposal from Authentic Housing to construct affordable housing in downtown Fargo. At the same time, I urge you to oppose a competing proposal from the Kilbourne Group.
I’m contacting you as a longtime Fargo citizen and property taxpayer. As such, I have four primary reasons for supporting the Authentic Housing proposal over that of the Kilbourne Group.
Fargo needs to ensure there is a balance of housing options and rent levels in its downtown. People who work downtown need affordable housing so they can be close to work, especially considering how difficult it is to find affordable parking downtown for those who need to commute. The Authentic Housing proposal will do that while also providing other amenities that working people need to make ends meet and care for their families.
The Authentic Housing carbon-neutral building plan is more environmentally friendly. This is a tremendous opportunity for Fargo to step up to its responsibility to the global community to implement more sustainable solutions for a host of issues, including affordable housing. This is your chance to help ensure the city takes a positive step toward reducing its contributions to the global climate crisis.
Fargo’s downtown is becoming more and more gentrified, with only affluent people able to afford luxury-level rents and costs of the apartments and condominiums downtown. The downtown should reflect the broader community, not just its most prosperous citizens.
Last, but certainly not least, I do not want citizens’ tax dollars or tax abatements used in any way to support more housing for the well-off in downtown Fargo.
Please vote in favor of Authentic Housing’s proposal for the construction of affordable housing in downtown Fargo.
Thank you in advance for your time and attention to my request. I look forward to hearing from you.
Martin C. Fredricks IV
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Featured graphic by Authentic Housing. Printed by The Forum Nov. 28, 2021.