Homelessness a problem in your city? J.Crew can help!

Mayor Rocky Anderson’s desire to renovate Pioneer Park is as good of an idea as building a multi-million dollar shopping complex next to a homeless shelter.

It does nothing for the people who actually reside in the area, but it makes things a little nicer for the rich people around town.

Some ideas for the Pioneer Park renovation include a history walk, jogging paths and a small amphitheater-all of which would theoretically make the park a more welcoming place.

Some would argue that renovating Pioneer Park would be a great thing for the area, which is known for its homeless population, prostitution and narcotics trafficking.

Wake up, people. Renovating the park won’t erase its residents.

Instead of sleeping on the grass, the homeless people at the park will be sleeping in an outdoor amphitheater that probably cost as much as it would to add a few extra rooms to the Road Home shelter.

This sort of circular thinking has been plaguing Salt Lake City for years now.

The whole idea behind the Gateway Project was to bring life to a side of town that had once been neglected.

Now, the once-avoided side of town has many visitors.

The only problem is that the visitors come and go as they please and pay no attention to what the real concern is.

The problem was never a lack of malls and parks to attract people. The problem with the area was that the entire homeless community was completely unnoticed.

So now that we have our mall, condominiums, posh art space, high-end restaurants and even a possible park renovation, has anything changed? No.

We still have the homeless people we always did. Only now, they’re surrounded by teenage girls wearing over-priced Abercrombie and Fitch miniskirts and businesspeople who are getting brain tumors from talking on their cell phones too long.

Salt Lake residents who frequent the 400 West area now that it’s pretty don’t realize the changes made have not solved any real problems in the area.

We might as well build a gigantic wall around the Road Home shelter. At least then when we go to buy a $20 steak at Biaggi’s, we wouldn’t have to see the homeless people and feel guilty.

Changing a park, ushering in big-name stores and building high-end housing near the Gateway doesn’t help the homeless situation in that area-it only masks it.

If we want to improve disadvantaged sections of the city, we should pay to increase police patrols that could then frequent high-risk areas in order to discourage drugs and prostitution.

Rather than trying to hide homelessness with a Banana Republic, we should improve the conditions at the homeless shelter and implement programs where homeless people can work with counselors to get their lives on track.

Ultimately, until we address what is really going on, no amount of superficial renovations will make our city a better place for the homeless people who live here.

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