Revitalizing neighborhoods a widespread challenge

An editorial in the Charleston Daily Mail supports an initiative to reinvigorate a section of the city:

CHARLESTON, W.VA. — “THE West Side is the best side,” goes the old adage, boasted by generations of Charlestonians who grew up west of the Elk River. While it is still a significant contributor to Charleston’s economic and cultural scene, some West Side neighborhoods have unfortunately become a haven for drug use and criminal activity, including a “drug market intervention zone” near Charleston’s new Mary C. Snow Elementary School.

As the Gazette’s Mackenzie Mays reported last week, the West Side is the location for much of Charleston’s violent crimes.

It’s a problem that is not unique to Charleston. Across the country, inner-city neighborhoods began declines in the generations after middle-class home owners followed new highways and moved to the suburbs.

Retail businesses consolidated at malls and mega-shopping complexes reachable only by highway. They gradually left behind declining property values, abandoned buildings, short-term renters and an influx of drugs and crime to community members who feel they have little opportunity.

But some West Side leaders have seen enough…

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