Jobs and Taxes v. Neighborhood Quality Of Life

There’s a proposal to build a huge recycling facility near the Martin Luther King neighborhood. It would supposedly create hundreds of decent jobs. Currently, the site is a dump for construction waste. It’s also currently involved in a lawsuit over possible zoning violations. The existence of that lawsuit prevents the city from considering the necessary zoning variences for the recylcing center. Not wanting to wait for the lawsuit to end, the company planning the recycling center is looking elsewhere.

All that said, this might seem like a great opportunity the city is letting slip away. But Mayor Glover thinks we’d be fine without it:

Part of the Clean Earth recycling process includes everyday garbage, meaning the purpose of Harrelson’s landfill would change. Currently, it accepts only construction debris.

During a recent City Council meeting, Mayor Cedric Glover publicly opposed bringing household garbage to the Martin Luther King Jr. community.

He said the negative impact the landfill would have on neighborhoods surrounding the proposed site was not worth the jobs it would create.

This isn’t the first time Glover has opposed Harrelson.

He opposed the current construction debris landfill back in 1994.

“What is currently there now represents a detrimental element to the neighborhood,” he said. “You do not sell your soul and the quality and integrity of our neighborhoods for jobs.”

Glover said the facility could locate in another part of the city, like near the Woolworth landfill.

“The idea of any area adjacent to the MLK community becoming a location for the disposal of municipal solid waste, I can not abide by,” Glover said. “For that reason alone I am in opposition.”

I really like having a mayor capable of weighing ALL the costs to a development project. That is, not just the expenses of tax breaks and what not used to lure the company, but the decreased value of people’s homes and neighborhoods. Too many local officials hear “jobs” and begin salivating like Pavlov’s dogs. They’re ready to do whatever is asked to bring those jobs home, never considering whether the benefits outweigh ALL the costs.

That said, I’m not sure I’m with the mayor here. The site is bordered by I-220 on the west, Twelve Mile Bayou on the North, Shreveport-Blanchard Highway on the South, and North Hearne on the East. (See the map, here). There is just no way anything that happens there could impact a neighborhood. Most of the areas around the site are industrial. All the access roads are thoroughfares and the nearest neighborhood (MLK) has I-220 between it and the dump. Sure, as the crow flies, it’s probably only a mile from the closest home. But the interstate will more than insulate the neighborhood from any additional noise and activity. They won’t notice anything more than they do now: The hum of traffic on the highway.

Maybe he knows something I don’t. The Mayor has seemed like a sensible person so far in his administration. But if his only objection is potential harm to the MLK area, I hope he soon changes his opinion.

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