Slums of the Future
President Obama will hit the road on Tuesday to sell his economic recovery plan to America. He will begin in a community called Lehigh Acres in Ft. Myers, Florida which has been dubbed “ground zero” of the current housing crisis and where unemployment is the 2nd highest in the nation at more than 10%.
I happen to be in Southwest Florida this week and decided to take a sneak peak at what President Obama will see on Tuesday upon his arrival.
The New Yorker magazine recently dubbed this community as the “slums of the future” and that’s not far from the truth.
As you approach Lehigh Acres there are a ton of empty retail plaza’s, foreclosure and “For Sale” signs lining the main thoroughfare of this once promising community.
What’s happening here is different than the housing problems Buffalo has faced over the last few years. Most of these homes are all new builds, most within the last 5 years. In one neighborhood, foundations were poured and construction materials were dropped off, but developers just decided to stop working.
The neighborhood we visited was like an atomic bomb was dropped and wiped out civilization in the middle of a busy afternoon.
Basketball nets were left in the middle of the street as if the game was going to continue after dinner. Garbage cans are still waiting by the curb. Garden hoses are spread out like someone planned on watering the lawn right before they got kicked out of their home. One house had a UPS pickup slip still posted to the door.