Guest Column: No place for low-income housing
By Sara Branson
This letter is in response to the Guest Editorial written by Larry Morrissey. I, too, am in agreement that the amount of low-income tenants in the soon-to-be-revamped Amerock building is not good business.
When I was a little girl growing up in Rockford, my family spent countless hours as patrons in the downtown area. This was the hot spot in town for shopping and other events. I still have warm memories of shopping, sightseeing with my parents and siblings. My Grandma was a seamstress for the store formerly known as D.J. Stewarts; therefore, my family and I often met her for lunch and walks in the riverfront/downtown area.
I moved to the Los Angeles area, spent 18 years of my adult life, and moved back to Rockford two years ago. I was amazed and proud of the community efforts in restoring the downtown area. Now, once again in my life, I am able to spend time in an area that I felt safe as I had before. Not to mention sharing with my children the beautiful artistic sights to see, businesses to patronize, and events to enjoy.
Should the Amerock building house 88 percent of low-income tenants, it would just be opening the door for more crime in the downtown area, and that would be a shame to repeat bad Rockford history. The community has worked hard to clean up the downtown area and restore the beauty with attractions and businesses. These new and old businesses are already suffering from Rockfords economy and will be hit with another economic factor. Should crime start escalating in the downtown area, many patrons will not do business in that area. I know from past experience in the Los Angeles area, that having too many low-income tenants in one building will make the accessibility easier for drugs, rapes and other horrific crimes. The community does not need to assist the criminal offenders; it needs to set up measures to deter them.
Yesterday, my family and I were boating on the Rock River and were going to dock by the Millennium Fountain but were unable to do so due to a group of five children. They were young and without adult supervision and came over to our boat, harassing us and even had the courage to jump onto our boat without permission. Needless to say, we never left the boat because of their actions and the possibility that we might have become crime victims.
What a shame that we were unable to enjoy the downtown area as a family should be able to and is entitled to.
Sara Branson is a life-long Rockford resident.