Tuesday, February 23, 2010

'High Cotton' project set for Ballantyne

Posted By on Tue, Feb 23, 2010 at 5:18 PM

Good news — all is not lost in the quest to build low- and medium-income housing in the Ballantyne area. Yesterday, the Charlotte Housing Authority announced it was pulling out of a public housing project for the city’s No. 1 nouveau riche area. Publicly, the reason was CHA's concern about the cost of the project. The fact that CHA’s withdrawal comes right after a wave of wailing and moaning by Ballantyne residents is merely a coincidence. No, really. Seriously.

You see, we have discovered, after about three Heinekens and four Manhattans, that CHA and Ballantyne representatives have worked out a new compromise. The deal is a startlingly original resolution to the controversy, and will allow low-income residents to live in Ballantyne while also fulfilling the previous project's opponents' vision of a proper relationship between the poor and the city’s elite.

The project, called “High Cotton,” is a complex arrangement that will include dedicating 200 acres just outside Ballantyne to growing cotton. In addition, CHA will partner with S. Legree Inc., a new development company, to build 200 small homes — cabins, really — that will be occupied by low-income folks who, as part of their lease, agree to devote each October to picking the cotton grown on the 200-acre planta ... umm, neighborhood.

“It’s a win-win for everybody,” says Lester Legree, who named the development company after his great-great-grandfather Simon. “We’ll have 200 acres of beautiful cotton, made in the U.S.A., to sell to all the area’s cotton mills. Of course, they’re all in Mexico or China now, but you know what I mean. And the ni ... er, poor people will have a nice place to live.” Legree said he even planned to install running water and working toilets in the cabins “as soon as we turn a profit.” Meanwhile, he said, "there's a nearby creek where they can wash their clothes." No spokespersons for public housing residents was available for comment.

Note: the above is satire, OK?

Artist's rendering of part of Ballantyne's planned High Cotton project
  • Artist's rendering of part of Ballantyne's planned High Cotton project

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