Letter to the Editor: Why remodel your living room, dining room and bathroom but allow kitchen to rot and fester?

Mark Philpot

Mark Philpot

I want to preface my comments by saying they do not necessarily represent the views of the office I hold as an elected official.  

Regardless of my position, I’m still a veteran, citizen, taxpayer and resident of the 2nd Ward. Quincy’s city council recently passed an ordinance establishing the TIF South district. Whether you agree or disagree with the outcome, as a citizen, I’m comforted by the amendments that were added to the ordinance that, at a bare minimum, alleviate the perception that individuals in government could potentially be profiting from the creation of a TIF district.  I seriously hope that the district is successful for the city as a whole.       

However … 

Much like the myth in ancient Rome where Nero fiddled while Rome was ablaze, a similar course of events has taken shape here in town.  The motivation for establishing a TIF district on the south side was to encourage development in an area with more than its share of urban blight. My question then is: What region of our fair city meets this criteria more than northwest Quincy? If the real reason for creating a TIF is to help an area that’s hurting, why is my community being overlooked?

I could speculate ad nauseum about the reasoning about why our portion of the city has received less than its fair share of resources and infrastructure.  I have asked, on more than one occasion, about why a TIF has yet to be considered for our neighborhood.  The 2nd Ward historically has water and sewer lines that date back to just short of horse and buggies and roads that resemble a cross between East St. Louis and Gaza.  This would surely be a good place to start for revitalization. 

I couldn’t quite put my finger on why this was happening. Then I stumbled upon research from the Washington Law Review, describing what was called the Team Four plan in North St. Louis (Reimagining the “Team Four Plan” With an Eye Toward Community Collaboration and Private Capital – Washington University Law Review (wustllawreview.org). In a nutshell, it described placing sections of the city into three categories: conservation, redevelopment and depletion.  

I’m not suggesting that the current administration is deliberately copying from a template created to disenfranchise an entire community, but I would love for them prove me wrong.  If you own a home, and you invest in remodeling your living room, dining room and bathroom, would you allow the kitchen to rot and fester? That’s what it feels like in northwest Quincy. 

But we are human beings. We work, we own and rent and pay taxes. Most important, we vote … and winter’s coming. 

Mark C. Philpot
President, Quincy Park District Board of Commissioners
Quincy, Illinois 

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