Yet Another Example of Terrific City Planning
The Kansas City Star has a story on the failures of the planning process in Kansas City’s Beacon Hill neighborhood. I encourage you to read it carefully. Now, I have never, to my knowledge, been to Beacon Hill. But this entire story is a perfect example of the failures that come when the government steps in to plan things that should be left to the free market and individual choice.
The historically revitalized neighborhoods in Saint Louis, such as Soulard and Lafayette Square, did not come about because of a government plan. They happened because free people made choices and put time, money, and effort into their neighborhoods. The government did not “plan” for Lafayette Square becoming what it has become, and it certainly did not mandate its development with legal contracts, etc. (I am certain that there are similar neighborhoods in Kansas City that have been revitalized in the same way as Soulard.) I will admit that the government does provide historic tax credits that encourage much of the revitalization, and they should continue to do that in historic parts of Missouri.
But the city should not get to “choose” who is allowed to buy property. From the Star article:
He and two other buyers were chosen to purchase and fix up the homes.
Even if the city had owned the homes by then, they should have taken the best offer. Somebody who wants to “mothball and flip it” might be doing just as much for the economy as someone who gets a lot of government tax money to subsidize revitalization. The Kansas City planners have no way of knowing what the best long-term plan is, and they have apparently not been making cost-effective decisions (emphasis added):
Beacon Hill so far is known mostly for exorbitant spending of federal dollars on two bungalows in the 2500 block of Tracy Avenue.
Government should stick to governing, rather than trying to predict the future and take risks with public money. That should be left to the private sector.