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As a person living in close proximity to the (former) Arthur Capper/Carrollsburg public-housing project, I read Jason Cherkis’ “The Cost of Leaving” (5/20) with amazement and disgust. In under 6,000 words, Cherkis was able to transform a derelict, crime-ridden housing project into a utopian Mayberry. If only the government could do so well!
Drug dealers taking up a collection to help a poor old lady pay her rent?! I don’t doubt the story, only its context. Where were these kind souls when the playground was deteriorating or the school was falling apart? Drug dealers are hardly renowned for their community reinvestment.
My heart goes out to Ola Dixon and her family. She seemed like a decent person who lived a more difficult life than most. But I am honestly sickened by anyone using her death as an indictment of the city’s plans to renovate the Capper/Carrollsburg space to be a livable and functioning part of the city.
The former Ellen Wilson housing project used to be across the freeway from Capper/Carrollsburg, but HOPE VI funding transformed the space several years ago into a mixed-income development called the Townhomes on Capitol Hill. So many Townhomes residents are part of the “9-to-5 Crew” that the kids growing up there may actually think that working for a living is the “normal” thing to do. Imagine that.