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Broaden the Renewal Umbrella

Rose Mary Pratt

Des Moines Register

February 1, 2006

[Note: This material is copyright by the Des Moines Register, and is reproduced here as a matter of "fair use" for non-commercial, educational purposes only. Any other use may require the prior approval of the Des Moines Register.]

It is easy to take pride in the recent development of the downtown area, particularly the riverfront and the walkways that connect to Gray's Lake, Court Avenue and the bridges to Little Italy and East Village. However, I wonder if residents who live in the shadows of the development feel that perhaps they have been left behind.

In clear view as one proceeds along the trail on the south Raccoon River bank and near the new restaurant, Romeo's on the River, are the unpaved streets of a neighborhood that has been long neglected by city officials.

It is time for all of us to recognize that not everyone benefits in the downtown construction boom. Businesses are awarded tax exemptions and incentives while ordinary citizens struggle and are ignored basic street paving, sewer improvements and lighting that stabilize an area and encourage residents to invest in their properties.

We should not forget those who dwell in the shadows and who deserve better. Bring all of the surrounding area under the umbrella of revitalization and renewal.

Rose Mary Pratt
Des Moines