The New Romford Free Press

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Some Neighborhoods Abandoned

By Buffy Bolivar

It’s been several weeks since the Dino-Day Disaster, and most of New Romford has returned to functionality.  Power, water, and communications have returned, major thoroughfares have been cleared, and business has been normal for most residents.  There are still many side streets and buildings that need repair, but nothing that any New Romforder hasn’t experienced before.

Even so, there are neighborhoods that are abandoned.  East Town, Jordan, and Virgin Heights were all hit hard by the DDD, and many buildings were completely demolished.  Johnson Lane in East Town is a ghost town.  “I used to live a block from that street,” said Dominique Jones, who is now living at a friend’s house in Norwoods.  “It was a happening place to go, you know.  All these great little shops and restaurants, all these places that only us locals knew, and now they’re just gone.”

Then there’s the corner of Milton and Melville in Jordan, another popular commercial district that, prior to the DDD, was in the midst of an economic upturn.  McDowell Enterprises had built a new 30-story office building there five years ago, and now it sits empty with a giant hole down its middle.  That’s not even counting all the homes that were destroyed nearby.  The Bellevue Apartments a few blocks away were a newly renovated, upscale apartment complex, and now, with its north wall stripped off, it’s home to squatters.

“It’s just a shame,” said local resident, Rashida Moen.  “A lot of these neighborhoods were some of the oldest in the city.  They’re architecture was just so unique.  You can’t replace them.  You just can’t.”

Some 40,000 residents have been displaced in these neighborhoods, and 800 businesses are closed either temporarily or for good.  No other neighborhood in New Romford has been hit as hard, and it may take years to repair.  “The infrastructure was really bad in these parts,” said Richard Martindale, New Romford City Planner from 1996 to 2005.  “The roads, sewers, pipelines, and just the buildings themselves have been beat up so much over the past 50 years from aliens and supervillains, and now dinosaurs, that they really need to be stripped down and rebuilt.  That’s going to take a lot of money.”

Mayor Lawrence has vowed to repair every street and building that sustained injuries in the wake of the DDD, but the price tag for such a feat may prove to be too high.  The estimated property damage for the entire city is $60.8 billion.  Downtown, which suffered the most damage, is getting top priority on the repairs, and since the Building Replacement Parts Act of 1978, every building is built with interchangeable parts.  Roughly 75% of the buildings in downtown have been fully restored within weeks, but neighborhoods like East Town are at a disadvantage because their buildings were grandfathered into the act and weren’t required to use interchangeable parts.

“Older neighborhoods like that are going to lag behind,” said Martindale.  “It’s a shame because East Town and Jordan really had some charming architecture.  I just hope they don’t become a haven for supervillains.”