Terry Nelson knows something about gentrification, having lived through it twice.
“The neighborhood I grew up in, some of the buildings were owned by Columbia University,” he recalls of his childhood home in Manhattan’s Upper West Side, a diverse community that was uprooted when Columbia aggressively acquired many of the buildings on his block. “I saw my friends, the kids I grew up with, slowly disappear one by one … By the time I left for college, my neighborhood was a wasteland. It was just a bunch of people I didn’t know.”
Now Beacon neighborhoods are in similar peril.
“The thing that people don’t understand is gentrification takes a long time,” he says. “The seeds are planted years, maybe decades, before anything happens. The troubling thing is, we’re in the middle of it right now. The things that took hold 10-15 years ago are starting to develop.”
Terry is not anti-development, but he does want Beacon to be proactive on rent control and housing affordability.
“When people here are afraid of tall buildings and gentrification… I get that,” he says. “This community you have invested in emotionally and financially is changing. I get it when people who have been here for generations have a little resentment toward the newcomers. It may not be rational, but I get it.”