Local News

North vs. South: Raleigh street a showcase of contrasts

Posted June 14, 2008 11:05 p.m. EDT

— North Blount Street in Raleigh is in the midst of a bustling renovation project. South Blount Street, on the other hand, is dealing with crime and dilapidation.

Some Raleigh residents are calling for that disparity to be addressed.

Residents say they want more police patrols on South Blount Street. The downtown neighborhood shares the same street name as one of the city's biggest renovation projects.

“(It’s) drug-infested. You know, people walking at nighttime (who) really shouldn’t even be out here or nothing like that. You know, the safest place is in the house,” said resident Leon Graham.

On Tuesday, a 21-year-old woman was gunned down. Just a mile up the road, North Blount Street is prepping for renovation – a 20 acre area that will eventually feature shops, condos and historic houses.

City leaders say they haven’t neglected the South Park neighborhood. Plans to revitalize the area have been in place since the early 1990s, but making those plans a reality has been a challenge.

City planners say North Blount Street is all state-owned property, making it easier to deal with developers. However, in South Park, “there are many, many property owners, a lot of absentee landlords (and) a lot of renters,” said Raleigh City Planner Mitchell Silver.

“Dynamics are very different on South Blount Street than on North Blount Street,” he said.

Pastor Chris Jones, who presides over a church on South Blount Street, said the community needs more law enforcement presence.

“I would like to see more police in this area. I would like to see them, you know, with their cars stopped, not just riding through. (They should be) talking to people, communicating with people,” Jones said.

Raleigh police say they have a regular, visible presence in the area. City planners say the South Park neighborhood is "high-priority" for revitalization.