Did you know?…
How is “Blight” defined in Lakewood?
Mayor Madeline Cain of Lakewood and the city council claim that Lakewood’s West End neighborhood is “functionally and economically obsolete,” and therefore “blighted,” based on such “evidence” as:
• Lack of two-car garages • Fewer than two full bathrooms • Fewer than three bedrooms • A house that is “too small” (less than 1,400 square feet) • A house that is worth less than $75 per square foot
These factors don’t distinguish the West End neighborhood from the rest of Lakewood. For example, most homes in the city are valued at less than $75 per square feet, the vast majority have fewer than two bathrooms, and almost none have an attached two-car garage.
The City claims that the West End neighborhood has a disproportionate number of police responses. However, over the past two and one-half years, there has been only one major crime (a robbery) reported from the homes slated for demolition. Much of the crime in the general area is reported from several bars on a nearby commercial street; however, the City’s redevelopment plans call for an increase in the number of bars.
Mayor Cain recognizes how being uprooted can affect families, because her family home was once threatened with condemnation. “I vividly remember the trauma that began when they first talked about buying the land. . . . I remember the trauma in my family. I’ve lived through it, and I don’t wish that on anybody.” Anybody except the home and business owners of the West End, that is.