U.S. Representative Russ Carnahan (D-MO) recently issued a press release calling out the City of Richmond Heights for its continued efforts to develop the Hadley Heights neighborhood:
“As Representative of the 3rd Congressional District in Missouri, I am disappointed that Richmond Heights is continuing its decade-long effort to destroy a historic neighborhood, seeking to hand over the land for retail development. Each previous developer’s efforts to purchase these homes-using the threat of condemnation-has failed. The city has embarked on its third attempt to accomplish this goal, once again leaving residents in limbo.
“The targeted neighborhood, Hadley Township, is a lower-income, minority community of 200 homes. It was founded in 1907, as a company town for a brick factory, in the midst of strict segregation. Residents built the neighborhood infrastructure, and generations of families have owned and lived there. Today, Hadley Township is pock-marked with vacant lots and boarded-up properties surrounded by much loved homes. The neighborhood has crumbled piece by piece, but that does not mean no one cares.
“There are still families who want to continue to call Hadley Township their home. One such family is Arthur and JoAnn Bailey, who bought their home in 1964. They raised their family there. They plan to retire in that very same house. Those dreams have suffered, under a cloud of uncertainty for ten years. Project proposals have been put forth and failed, each time bringing the possibility that Arthur and JoAnn could lose their American Dream.
“Homeownership is the cornerstone of the American Dream and should be celebrated, not ripped from the hands of hard-working residents. It is time for residents to be presented with an offer to purchase their homes which would compensate them fairly for their property and for the ten years of uncertainty with which they have had to live. If the city and the developer cannot do that, they must leave this community alone once and for all.”