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WHAT DOES $130MIL BUY: In Baltimore It Buys Perpetual Squalor

This is for all those who throw money at slums governed by liberals. Enjoy.

By Michael S. Rosenwald and Michael A. Fletcher

Why couldn’t $130 million transform one of Baltimore’s poorest places?

Along the street where Freddie Gray was arrested, abandoned houses are gashed with gaping holes. The roof on an old red-brick building is collapsed. A storm drain is clogged with concrete.

Sandtown-Winchester is crumbling, and there is little to suggest that two decades ago visionary developer James Rouse and city officials injected more than $130 million into the community in a failed effort to transform it. Instead there are block after block of boarded-up houses and too many people with little hope.

“It’s frustrating,” said Stefanie DeLuca, a Johns Hopkins University sociologist who has studied the neighborhood. “How much money would it take? It certainly seems on an instinctual level that $100 million should have made some difference.”

But for much of Sandtown, life remains bleak. Once home to Thurgood Marshall, Billie Holiday and Cab Calloway, the West Baltimore neighborhood has suffered from unemployment, crime and poverty rates well above the city’s average, census and other data show. The state spends nearly $17 million just to incarcerate its former residents. Life expectancy is 10 years below the national average.

The effort to revive Sandtown was massive. More than 1,000 homes were eventually renovated or built. Schools were bolstered. Education and health services were launched.

But there were many obstacles along the way, according to Enterprise’s report. Some residents complained that the vision was too grand to execute. Others involved said the city’s bureaucracy stifled innovation.

Read more: Washington Post