During the Sept. 19 mayoral candidate debate the topic of housing was raised. Candidate Elizabeth Hardesty drew heat with this great, but overlooked point: “One thing I don’t think the city needs more of is low-income housing. They’ve done a wonderful job when we needed it, but we have enough right now. We do need affordable housing for middle class families.”
The last mayoral effort to provide affordable middle class housing by the city of Lima was the development of Westgate. The Lima Citizen reported, “slated to be called Westgate Manor, the 550 home site will be complete with sidewalks, paved streets, curbs, gutters and complete city serv installation of both water and sewer.” The year was 1959. Dwight D. Eisenhower was the president.
Much of Lima’s housing stock is older than 1959 with owner occupied housing at a low of 47.3% Very little restoration or new middle class construction has been built. Middle class families simply look outside of the city to meet their needs.
Hardesty states, “the time for studies and focus groups has passed. Now is the time for big ideas and big action to reverse the decline of home ownership in Lima. I will concentrate on housing that is affordable for working families, young professionals and seniors.”
As Steve Forbe’s says, “A good idea, properly executed, is unstoppable.