When I first saw a bigwig tv story about this new construction project in Huntsville all I really heard was “workforce.” Typically distracted and doing two things at once I got the impression that this monstrosity being built next to the railroad tracks on Dallas Street was to be some sort of light industrial manufacturing. Good, I thought, because the land-trapped location is sandwiched in between the noisy elevated interstate and the incessantly shrill blowing train horn.
When I recently noticed the progress I realized this isn’t going to be a working workforce factory but rather an apartment complex for the “young work force” in Huntsville. Now, downtown lofts with mixed use businesses on the ground floor located in a pleasantly noisy entertainment district is one thing. This is another, and it doesn’t include retail businesses at all. Although, how the rest of the green areas along Dallas Street will be utilized is yet to be seen.
And then I thought, at least they should build a skybridge to connect Dallas Lofts with the Lincoln Mill cultural center right across the railroad tracks. So, I sent an email to district 2 representative councilman Francis Ackridge whose district it is in asking that and a few other questions. I usually do get replies on other questions, but not this time.
The more I looked at it the more it stinks. The pleasantly surrounded Lofts in downtown are quite expensive and I don’t suppose the Dallas Lofts are going to be cheap – to start with. I really thought the city was making a deliberate effort to disallow any new residential areas being built right next to the railroad tracks. It’s abusive. They could but haven’t built silent railroad crossings – too expensive they say.
I don’t know who would want to live in compacted compartmentalized apartments in the first place, certainly not young and active workers. It seems to me the monstrosity is doomed to fade into low rent public housing for whoever and more likely inactive seniors rather than younger folks. It looks like an assisted living facility to start with. Some people do apparently like apartment living so to each his own, but it’s sure not for me.
In my final opinion, all residential should be zoned away from such close proximity to the railroad tracks. Other commercial possibilities could fit without creating an abusive living environment. The best bet would’ve been to leave it as green space.
©2022 – Jim Casey