Springfield is bribing people, paying them to live my life, and there are no takers. If I weren’t so happy with my life I might take offense. The city will sell you a house for $1,000 and donate $75,000 to exterior renovations if you’re just willing to live where I live.
When I tell people how little I paid for my Second Empire townhouse I always tell them that I overpaid by at least 20 grand, now I must admit that it seems as though I overpaid by something like $165,000! A pretty good trick when you only paid $90,000 to begin with. It seemed a reasonable price to pay for 3,500 square feet of space with grand marble fireplaces, chandeliers, wainscoting, bay windows, hardwood floors with detailed inlay…but of course it’s “here”. A neighborhood where there are nearly as many vacant homes as there are homes which are occupied, a neighborhood with schools that people believe are inadequate, a neighborhood where I’ve seen as many as two destitute men pushing shopping carts filled with returnable bottles by my house at the same time, a neighborhood where the prostitutes walk by regularly enough that I can recognize them.
Of course it’s also a neighborhood where you can see sporting events, visit museums, eat at a variety of restaurants and pubs, experience the Old World in a handful of Italian cafes and specialty shops. You can get on a bus or a train and get anywhere you want to go on the East Coast multiple times a day, move in, out and amongst buildings built from the Neo-Classical period through 21st century “Starquitecture” .
The market speaks, however, and people have decided in the past that whatever the city had been offering as incentive, (it was somewhat less) it wasn’t enough to get people to live here. “You couldn’t pay me enough to live in that hell hole”. Let’s see if that turns out to be true. You can live here for next to nothing, you’ll have to pay for interior renovations, and utilities, and taxes I’m sure. You’ll be less than a five minutes walk from this:
From time to time you’ll be able to experience this:
And in a few years, potentially, this
What else can I say to sell you on the idea? Life is great here. You can’t do anything, anytime like in New York or London, but at times you can do amazing things. You don’t have to be rich to live a rich life here even if you define richness by cultural, social, and artistic experiences. It’s not as dangerous as people would have you think. I’m in my fifth year in this house and my third decade downtown, and while I’ve heard of bad things happening, I’ve never experienced them. The schools are better, objectively, than their reputation would have you believe, but most of all, you just might be part of something really big and really special: The rebirth of one of the great cities of America’s Industrial Age.