Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

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January 22, 2013

Reaction to 'impact zone' is mixed


Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — In Facebook postings and interviews with a US&J reporter this week, some residents seemed less than appreciative of the impact zone declaration.

John and Linda Rosenberg of Genesee Street dislike the way it mischaracterizes, even maligns, their neighborhood. They've lived on the block between Washburn and Locust streets for 35 years, expanded the family business, Prudden & Kandt Funeral Home, encouraged their children to buy homes close by, and they say it's not nearly as bad as police and city officials have made it out to be.

"We have wonderful, caring neighbors ... and a few pigs who ruin things. That's true all over this city," Mrs. Rosenberg said, "but it's always Genesee Street that gets labeled "the red zone, the war zone, the ghetto. ... They target when they really need to clean up everything. The whole city needs a good scrubbing."

A few writers on Facebook suggested the city going for "impact" now is like closing the barn door well after the horse bolted. Blight and crime have been dragging down the targeted area for decades while "complacent" city officials, landlords and residents watched, Kenny Allore wrote on the US&J Facebook page.

Others suspect the city's true interest isn't in aiding long-beseiged residents, it's in protecting the "money," that is, new investors in the zone — Housing Visions, which put almost $9 million into a rental housing development on Genesee, Locust and Pine streets, and Trek Inc., a manufacturing company that's poised to sink $5 million into relocating to Harrison Place.

"Only reasoning for this 'step up' is because Tucker wants a business to move into the Harrisons plant!" Kelly Hall wrote.

"You didn't care til you got money," Bethany Coley wrote.

"Tucker is thumping his political chest," Spalding Street rental property owner Stephen Walsh said in a Tuesday interview. "I laughed when I read about this (impact zone). ... Government exists to protect government. To the extent that people buy into the notion that this is for them, well, we get what we deserve. ... Police officers will remain employed, that's the only 'impact' I foresee."

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