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True ‘revitalization’

Letter to the Editor | Friday, September 15, 2006

Revitalization through the building and renovating of a neighborhood is a great idea. By increasing the appearance of the neighborhood, poverty rates and crime rates are likely to decrease. It also creates a friendlier environment to surround the campus.

But does Notre Dame’s attempts at revitalization mean anything else than changing the demographics of the neighborhood? The lots that are being purchased and renovated are not going to the people who lived there before, but rather to a different group of people who are more affluent, more educated. Can we really say that changing the people who live there is revitalizing? I would think it is more like creating something new rather than changing something old.

Not only does the practice of buying lots to build monstrous abodes for the more affluent create a nicer approach to our campus, but it also destroys the community that is already there. The predominantly black neighborhood south of campus is not going through revitalization. The term that would be more appropriate is ethnic cleansing.

The residents are being displaced to move somewhere else that they can afford, thanks to the increasing taxes and pressure to vacate the neighborhood. They move to other locations in South Bend that have the same problems. Notre Dame is not solving anything by building new houses south of campus. It only helps to isolate the university more and push the problem areas further away from campus. Hey, at least Notre Dame doesn’t have to deal with them if they are in another part of town. That always seems to work.

Gary Nijak


Knott Hall

Sept. 13