Very little in the South Bay Neighborhood escaped being designated substandard--either "serious," marked with diagonal lines, or "critical," marked with dots. Surprising today, all the houses on Willard Place, except for No. 8 at the end, were designated "serious." Aside from the 300 block of Allen Street and West and East Court streets, the only blocks not considered substandard in 1965 were the south side of Allen Street between Third and Second and the north side of Union Street between Third and Second.
South Bay Neighborhood
The South Bay neighborhood is predominantly working class or "blue collar" in character. The neighborhood was defined to include the industries and railroad uses of the Bay, where the survey of the Bureau of Urban Affairs reported severely deteriorating structures, open sewer outfalls, and noise and dust, all contributing to blight.
Of the 615 housing units, approximately one-third were in standard condition. Another 28% were in intermediate condition and 38% were substandard. Vacancies were common (vacancy ratio: 7.0%).
The fewest problems were found near Washington Park; the greatest number were found on the blocks adjoining the industrial uses and west of Front Street between and along Warren Street.
One-fifth of the total number of substandard housing units found within the City were in the South Bay neighborhood. Only in the North Bay neighborhood were there greater numbers of substandard housing units reported.
Although the neighborhood, as defined, extends from Washington Park to Promenade Hill and includes Franklin Park and St. Mary's Playground, the park space is totally inadequate. Washington Park functions well for passive adult recreation. St. Mary's Playground and Franklin Park are much too small for the active sports of the children who use them, and Promenade Hill is a formal monument in a windy and hilly location, not greatly used for even passive recreation.
The South Bay neighborhood is severely blighted. The low-lying area of the neighborhood, bordering the Bay itself, and the blocks west of Front Street require much clearance and redevelopment to eliminate blighted structures and residential uses which are not compatible with the existing heavy commercial and industrial uses.
The blocks closer to Warren Street contain many old buildings of historical and architectural interest. These buildings should be conserved and rehabilitated insofar as possible, to preserve and enhance the historical quality of this area. The City should investigate the creation of an historical preservation district (to include the blocks east of Front Street extending south beyond Partition Street, and east to Fourth Street) in order to aid in the restoration and conservation of these buildings.The recommendations for "clearance and redevelopment" were carried out only a few years after they were made in 1965, but it took forty-one years for the City to act on "the creation of an historical preservation district." In 2006, the Union-Allen-South Front Street Historic District was created.
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