LITTLE ROCK, AR – Interstate 630 provides a convenient corridor for drivers, but according to a new report, some people who live south of the interstate say it also creates a physical and psychological divide between the haves and have nots.
With critical city services up for grabs, everyone wants to feel their neighborhood is a good place to be.
On Monday, Clinton School of Public Service students and Arkansas community organizations presented findings from more than 400 surveys and 12 focus groups capturing voices of people that live south of I-630.
Students asked if residents feel their neighborhoods receive the same services as people who live north of I-630 do.
Twenty-one percent said yes. Fifty-two percent said no.
The majority feel the inequities stem from living in what they perceive as the wrong neighborhood for investments. Their top three concerns are crime, abandoned houses, and street repair/cleanliness.
We drove down Woodrow Street, crossing over the interstate, and unlike the north side, on the south side we saw a handful of dilapidated structures within two blocks of I-630.
Dr. Minnie Hatchett says she’s fought to remove abandoned homes for years, “I cannot get cooperation from the city to get owners to repair them or do anything with them. I am just stuck with a house,” she says.
City Manager Bruce Moore listened from the audience, “We know I-630 can serve as a barrier.”
He says the city is working on multiple projects to improve the community, but it could do a better job of communicating with concerned neighbors.
“We want to ensure individuals know we care no matter where they live and I think that’s something we can work on,” says Moore.
According to reports from the city, each ward receives the same amount of money for capital improvement projects from the sales tax increase.
This is not the only pot of money that directly impacts neighborhoods, but these are recent projects. Mostly used for streets and drainage issues.
Each ward receives $2.6 million.