The boundaries of the proposed Reservoir Community District ("RCD") include the majority of residential areas commonly referred to as "the Reservoir". What happens within the RCD affects what lies without. Therefore, the RCD is an important issue, deserving of thoughtful, civil discourse. My home lies within the proposed boundaries, and since I have this platform, I offer my humble opinion.
If the issue is whether the Rankin County Board of Supervisors should create the RCD as proposed, the short answer is cautiously yes.
Cautiously, because I feel the RCD is but a band aid for a quietly festering, and soon to be incurable, wound. The residential infrastructure of many of our neighborhoods is crumbing. The downturn in the housing market, combined with numerous other factors, have caused the caring and/or affluent to look elsewhere. Instead of staying in the RCD, repairing and upgrading their homes for the long-term, they find a good deal on a brand new house in Flowood, Madison, or Ridgeland. After their old home sits on the market for months, in move renters, or other persons without the incentive to repair or even maintain. Like an infection, it slowly spreads until entire neighborhoods are left depressed and rotting.
Three weeks ago, I was present when Rankin County Youth Court Judge Tom Broome was asked from what area of the county he saw most of his delinquency issues. To my surprise, he answered without hesitation, naming three subdivisions within the RCD. You'd be amazed what occurs there, he said.
That was an eye opener, and if you don't see certain areas of our community rapidly falling into decline, you too are turning a blind eye.
Neighborhoods like Mill Creek, without strong covenants, are teetering. The good residents -- many of whom have lived there since the mid to late 1970's -- are either dying off or moving out. Without legitimate covenants, Mill Creek residents are at the mercy of those moving in.
Neighborhoods like Hidden Hills may think their strong covenants will protect them, but there is not much solace to be gained when surrounded by decay. The City of Flowood is beginning to figure this out.
A plain reading of the proposed ordinances indicate the RCD does not have much bite. That should placate the detractors who fear another layer of governmental regulation/oversight. The proposed ordinances do address glaring issues like pawn shops named after the adult entertainment industry and front yards used as RV parking lots; but other than that, the RCD will not have much, if any, affect on the rest of us. Hence, a band-aid. But it's a start.
Comprehensively, we have work to do to improve our school facilities, our roads, the quality and nature of the commercial establishments around our homes, etc. Maintenance of aging subdivisions is just one part of the work. We face our challenges in the coming years, but no group is more resilient than Reservoir citizens. I don't say all this to portray a bleak picture of the Reservoir. We are blessed with outstanding churches, parks, scenery, law enforcement, educators and residents. We are further blessed to have the City of Flowood and its progressive leaders acting as the welcoming committee for Hinds County. If life was not great here, I would raise my family elsewhere.
I repeat for emphasis, the RCD is a start. Nonetheless, concerned citizens, don't think the RCD is the cure. Continue to look for other options to maintain or improve the quality of life we enjoy in the Reservoir.