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Jonathan Potts

More than once I've referred people, on this site and mine, to a book called "Comeback Cities" which describes successful, or at least promising, community-based efforts to revitalize inner-city neighborhoods. The authors conclude--and they looked at neighborhoods that were in serious decline and decay, not places like Bloomfield--that only true community-based projects are going to succeed. They may have some government support, but local officials can't be calling the shots. (The authors don't discuss downtowns, and take it for granted that downtown revitilizations going on in the late 1990s were succeeding.)

I love Bloomfield, and my wife and I would have loved to have moved there, but it just doesn't have the housing stock that you'll find in many other city neighborhoods.

Incidentally, a year or so ago, the Trib ran a story about the fact that the URA was turning away small developers who want to convert some of its Downtown properties into condos, lofts, etc. So it's not the market that won't support piecemeal development. It's the officials who want to control everything that happens Downtown.

Mark Stroup

I'm not sure how much support the URA has provided in Bloomfield, but I'm sure they've been there with the Housing Recovery Program and the like. There are a few more facets to the URA than its Robert Moses/Octopus-like public image. Much of their work has to do with fitting deals together that wouldn't work otherwise.

The Murphy administration, like in many things, botched things up, but you'll find lots of knowledgeable URA staffers who could and do real estate development on their own. At a scale like Bloomfield, Garfield, and Friendship's the URA's been a help and an accelerating agent. How they'll help downtown in the long run is anyone's guess. As Keynes (I think) said, "In the long run, we're all dead."

I hope to see Sam and others on Liberty Avenue. I'll be at Sunday's Photowalk

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