Bringing Down the House

Neighbors want to buy and fix it. A building inspector recommends saving it. And yet the Housing Authority insists on tearing down 5950 Enright. The story of a house -- and a city's demolition craze.

Watson, who grew up on Enright, says he'd buy 5950 in a flash, rehab it so his two sons could grow up there. "Last of the big brick houses," he murmurs. "When that house was up and running, it was sweet.

"This block here used to be the block," he adds, grinning. "We were so eager to come home from school so we could get out and play foursquare or football or kickball.... Sure, people smoked their weed and drank their beer, but it was secluded; it wasn't out in the front. Everyone over here knew you -- if you were late, you got two whippin's, one from the lady down the street and one from your mama. The police'd stop at the top of the street and look down and just keep on ridin', that's how good this street was.

"If taxpayers are paying for all this, how come taxpayers can't buy the property?" he asks. "You got houses all over the city still fixable, and guys willing to put their own money into it. I thought they were trying to bring the city back.

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