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Double-Edged Swords

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Lots of chatter this week about our story on Golden Belt's quest for a historic designation—and the Durham Rescue Mission's quest to have its properties exempted from that designation ["The Last Little Village," August 31].

On Facebook, Will Elliott writes that historic districts aren't always what they're cracked up to be: "Local historic designation can be a double-edged sword. After living in Morehead-Hill, one such district, for nine years, I saw two homes demolished (or moved) due to neglect that are now just empty lots. I also believe [the designation] stifled investment far more than encouraged it. There's a fundamental flaw when modest-income owners might be forced to incur additional expenses and regulations to improve their property when their neighbor can bulldoze an otherwise identical home, but only if they let it sit there neglected for at least a year. That said, this district might be a moot point if the Durham Rescue Mission isn't included."

Commenter ZK isn't buying that residents' concerns aren't a NIMBY issue. "'This isn't a NIMBY issue, [residents] say. They're not opposed to the mission's presence or even its expansion. They just don't want it to disrupt their neighborhood.' Isn't that the definition of NIMBY? It's a shame no one from the [Durham Rescue Mission] would speak to the INDY."

Last week's paper also featured a piece by Eric Tullis that looked at the increasing paucity of black-owned restaurants in Durham ["Blackout," August 31].

"I loved Dillard's BBQ," writes Geoff Dunkak. "One of my first real Durham experiences when my wife and I moved here twenty-five years ago. We walked in on our first visit, and Mr. Dillard, thinking we might be lost, asked us if we needed directions. When we answered that no, we just needed something to eat, he made us feel at home and personally took us on a tour of the buffet. I even swung by there to pick up lunch on the way to Duke for the birth of my first child. I miss them—and their plates at the DBAP as well."

"Another great black-owned and black-operated establishment was Doug's Seafood Box and also Doug's Seafood and Chicken, which was not mentioned in this article," adds Raymond Caple. "At one time, it was located on Ridgeway Avenue and later moved to Alston Avenue near the Durham Freeway. ... Then [Doug] moved over to Lakewood Shopping Center for a brief while. Also unmentioned was another black-owned restaurant, the Triangle Steak House at the corner of Fayetteville and Pilot streets, across from the Chicken Hut, that opened in the mid-1970s and closed sometime in 1980, where it sat in the vacant shopping center."

On Twitter, Herschel Klein seems to think this story was nostalgic for a less-than-ideal era: "@indyweek you're right. #Durham was so much better 15 years ago."

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