Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Would you believe Chatham 14 almost wasn't built?

This is an old article (via High Beam) from the Citizen from well almost 13 years ago (dated Feb. 27, 1997). The issues present in this article may well still exist in the community. What do you think?
Donzell Starks, in responding to accusations that he may not have been "sensitive" enough about community input on the movie project, acknowledged that may be true at times because of his concentrated "business focus."

However, in an interview with the Citizen, Starks said a number of community leaders have helped to make the Chatham theaters a reality, including Loretta Weston of the West Chatham Improvement Association; Keith Tate, of the Chatham Avalon Park Community Council, Garth, and aldermen, Jesse Evans (D., 21st) and John Steele (D., 6th).

"(Weston) worked with residents in the 21st and 17th Wards, and especially senior citizens to communicate to them about giving young people an opportunity," Starks said.
As young Black entrepreneurs, Forte said, he, as well as the Starks have to battle on two fronts: generation, and racial.

"We take it from both sides," said [president of the Black Contractors United Eddie] Forte. "We get it from older Black business persons and the White guys are kicking our butts."

Tate pointed our that initially most senior citizens were against the development of a theater in Chatham because "they are afraid of young people." However, he said by insisting that quality movies and positive messages from the community be carried on the screen, Tate added, many people opted to approve of the cinema.
Initial resistances and unfortunate resistance. Of course we have the cinema up there now with a different set of problems than had existed before they were built. Today it might be less about the young people than it is about customer service.

Also I would rather hope future development within or around Chatham has little to do with fear of young people. If it is, then the unfortunate part about that is missing out on any possible opportunity to provide more amenities for our community.

1 comment:

  1. Yes I can believe it. Don Starks had impeccable credentials as well as he was a child of the community who didn't get any respect. The issue here was magnified because a few hustlers couldn't get their hands in this deal.

    As far as current development I'm skeptical of a lot of it because I don't see the type of credentials and plans that Don Starks presented. Most of the time all I hear is they grew up in Chatham, they want to help the community, etc. When its time to talk about how the business is going to be financed, managed, etc then I get vague answers which scare me because it sounds like something that going to be a problem in the long run( poor customer service, low quality products, etc.). I'm open to hear some sound plans but I'm not interested in hearing about any more run of the mill dollar stores, chinese food restaurants, convenience stores, etc that are already present.


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