December 28, 2010
A tangle of weeds and shrubs frames the vacant lot at the northwest corner of Washington and Kenmore streets near LaSalle Park Homes, a sprawling cluster of low-income housing units bordering LaSalle Park west of downtown.
If Greater South Bend Housing Inc. has its way, that overgrowth could soon be uprooted to make way for even more low-income housing for seniors, many of whom are currently waiting for space to open up at the nearby Ralph C. Ellison Homes.
First, however, the city must approve a petition by South Bend Housing to rezone the lot to accommodate a Planned Unit Development, a process that got off to a rocky start last week when the Area Plan Commission voted to send the petition to the South Bend Common Council with no recommendation.
The unanimous vote followed a heated public hearing during which neighbors expressed concerns about the proliferation of low-income housing in the area as well as the management practices of Real Estate Management Corp., which manages both LaSalle Park Homes and Ellison Homes in conjunction with South Bend Housing and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD.
“The overall scheme of the problem is this: the area is saturated with low-income housing,” said 56-year-old Wendell Johnson, who lives on South Falcon Street about one-half block south of LaSalle Park Homes.
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