"Not In My Back Yard" is a common saying when Government or developers want to put something residents see as undesirable in their neighborhood. Homeless shelters are a good example. So are prisons. And trash dumps. Try to build one, and the local community groups will talk about property values, environmental impact or increased traffic flow, and storm City Hall to say "Not in My Back Yard".
But now it's the City of Little Rock saying NIMBY, because the Fed's want to build a day center to help homeless Veterans. Yes, Veterans. The Fed's have already cut a deal to fix up the old Cook Jeep location on Main Street to serve our Veterans.
And therein lies the problem. City leaders have other ideas for development on Main Street, and a center to serve the homeless, even homeless Vets is not a part of that plan. So, City Hall says NIMBY.
The City needs better arguments. First, my friend the Mayor said the City should have been notified. Well, as Max Brantley writes in the Arkansas Times Blog, that just doesn't hold water. The Fed's took out legal ads in the paper. Community blogs wrote about it. Here's a link to Brantley's blog post: http://tinyurl.com/7n2578g Isn't there someone at City Hall who should be reading legal notices?
The Mayor also suggests the Main Street location is a poor idea because there is a liquor store right across the street. And guess what, some homeless vets have substance abuse problems.
Let me point out the new location for the Wolfe Street Center is just around the corner from the former car lot. Wolfe Street is an outstanding organization, and hosts substance abuse meetings on a regular basis. Those Vets needing help could find it in walking distance.
The Mayor points out the city is already working on a Day Service Center for the Homeless, and that location is better suited to serve the homeless, including the Vets. That Center will be out on Confederate Blvd. Heck, it's almost walking distance. When you get off the bus.
The truth is, the Mayor just doesn't want the new Veterans Homeless Service Center on Main Street. A homeless day center, even for Vets, is obviously not consistent the vision he and others have for a redeveloped Main Street. I get that. I think most people get it. A center serving the homeless, even homeless Vets, is probably not going to attract downtown business, more entertment venues and maybe even some residents.
If City Hall wants to trump up some bad reasons for yelling NIMBY, that's their right. I just hope the next time a neighborhood group opposes a government or developers plan that will impact property values or increase traffic, City Hall will have more empathy when citizens say NIMBY.