Hyattsville has been fortunate to be in a development boom over the past few years. When we bought our house in 2006, Hyattsville looked very different than it does now, and in 2007 when the housing bubble crashed, we wondered if we had made a mistake buying a house- and not just any house- a fixer-upper. Twelve years later, Hyattsville has grown into a city that is known for its art and opportunities and while we’re still fixing up, we know for sure we made the right choice buying a house in Hyattsville. We’ve been lucky.
What about those who haven’t been so fortunate? We’ve been able to do much of the work on our house on our own, but there are many retirees who do not have the means to pay for their rising property taxes and maintaining their homes. We as a community often help these neighbors; helping out by raking leaves, shoveling snow, or putting away trash barrels. What can the city do to ensure that those who choose to age in place in Hyattsville can continue to do so?
This is a question that seems to have gained no traction on the council. How do we ensure that Hyattsville isn’t just for the rich or the young? How can we maintain our culture and our history if we price diversity out of the neighborhood? A city council member dedicated to serving her community needs to do more than adopt a piece of legislation for show; she needs to be doing real work to find a solution to that problem in coordination with city staff, the county, the state, and federal granting agencies. That means putting in more time than two meetings a month requires. To ensure my neighbors, the people who make Hyattsville home, can afford to stay here- that’s work I am willing to put in.