Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Charlotte's decaying Eastside

Eastland is Charlotte's forgotten neighborhood. Though it's near neighbors Plaza-Midwood and Elizabeth enjoy skyrocketing property values and seemingly unending investment, Eastland is left to rot. Nowhere is this more painfully evident than the Amity Gardens - Coliseum Center shopping complex on Independence Boulevard (I realize it's officially in Sheffield Park). I read a story in yesterday's newspaper about how Eastside residents, of which I am one, are beginning to lose patience with the city's empty promises of redevelopment for the area. I took some pictures of the shopping center this afternoon, admittedly they aren't very good but they get the point across. I'm barely old enough to remember when the shopping center still had life, when you could have a sandwich at the lunch counter in the Eckard's and then go to K-Mart. That ended when K-Mart declared bankruptcy, dealing a crippling blow to the area.

There was talk of a transit center, similar to the one uptown, and later talk of a new shopping center anchored by a Wal-Mart supercenter, none of which have come to anything. In part because the land is toxic, and in part because Harbor Fright Tools won't sell it's lease to the city. I'd personally run a light rail line over what is now the sparingly used HOV lane. Though that may be infeasible.

Whatever the outcome, something needs to happen because it's becoming a magnet for crime.

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