Norwood in the Balance

by Maskil on May 20, 2009

My first letter to the editor of the North Eastern Tribune (the local Caxton paper servicing Norwood). The letter was published in the edition for the week ending 1 May 2009 as “Apathy hurts”.

My fear is that the Norwood “CBD” (central business district) centred around Grant Avenue will become another victim of the urban decay that has overwhelmed so many other once trendy areas closer to the Johannesburg city centre (my haunts during my single days in the 80s and 90s).

Dear Editor,

“Keeper of the guards” on page 11 of the 10 April 2009 edition of North Eastern Tribune refers.

As a new resident of Norwood, I was shocked to read that landowners had turned down a business improvement district plan last year. The Norwood “CBD” is surely paying the price for that decision today, in terms of empty shops, reduced rental income and property values and the somewhat run-down and “marginal” atmosphere that pervades Grant Avenue and the surrounding streets.

Hopefully a successful blockwatch system, such as that proposed by businessman Ari Halpern, will help to reverse the tide and convince landowners of the wisdom of an improvement district plan. Residents and tenants should pressure landowners to reconsider, and hope that such a plan is not completely off the table. The alternative is to watch all commerce migrate to the Norwood Mall or even further afield.

The Norwood CBD has all the potential to become a trendy and fashionable shopping, lifestyle and restaurant district, such as those we see in Parkhurst and Greenside, but it won’t happen without commitment on the part of all stakeholders.

Yours faithfully,

“Maskil“

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