Posted by Stephanie Young, ATLANTA, GA – Boulevard Avenue runs through the center of Atlanta. In the 1890s Boulevard was described as "one of the most desirable residential streets in the city.” But for decades now large segments of it are known only for crime, drug activity, and the highest concentration of project-based Section 8 apartments -- 700 of them - in the Southeastern United States. Ironically these apartments are owned and managed by Boston-based Continental Wingate, an absentee landlord company that has done little to maintain them.
Many believe that redevelopment on Boulevard and the immediately surrounding streets is inevitable given its central location. In fact, there are many condominiums and townhouses underway along Boulevard. But when you get to Boulevard and Ponce, it’s a different world with rundown liquor stores, fast food outlets, dollar stores, and the dilapidated Continental Wingate apartments. One residents there told me: “All around us there are new houses and high rises being built like in San Francisco, but not here. We have nothing but crime and crappy housing.” Hopefully Continental Wingate will eventually remember that they do own property in Atlanta and start to understand the value of maintaining it. No matter what your income level is everyone deserves to live in a safe neighborhood with decent housing.
Stephanie Young is a Film and Video major at Georgia State University.