Friendship Court

"There is hereby created the Placemaking, Livability and Community Engagement (PLACE) Design Task Force (PDTF) to act as an advisory body to the Planning Commission and City Council... charged with... developing design criteria... identifying best practices in master and small area planning... fostering good urban design and placemaking." – March 5, 2012
Commentator Bill Emory puts up a new photo nearly every day at


Bill did not exactly capture the friendship of this court.

This is Garrett Square, and it is the place of nightmares. Renaming it to friendship court was a joke, and only a temporary measure until the developers get a hold of it and it becomes awesome condos and townhomes for people who paid the premium to live close to the downtown mall. As a bonus, the crime rate will significantly drop!


Bill was probably worried he'd get shot if he hung around too long.. had to get a quick snap and get the hell out of there.

The children and adult's whose home this is deserve compassion and a whole lot more.
Please Hook, censor the incoming bs about "entitlements."

I have no problem with social programs, and despise the term "entitlements" because it gives the right wing the idea that those who receive benefits feel as though they are entitled or deserve them. However, I do recognize the blight that Garrett Square has been on the Downtown Cville scene since its inception. Pretty much 90% of the "white shirt mafia" resides there, and almost all the crime on the Downtown Mall area can be traced back there. Subsidies are fine because some people need them, however having entire complexes like Garrett Square have long since been proved to be an improper way to go about housing. Tear them down, build something nice, and let the final phase of Cville's downtown transition occur.

Entitlements is a word that, when applied to Section 8 housing, almost always bears a stigma from those who do not, nor have not, ever lived in such places. For some who have, it is a social badge of honor (in their minds) as a way of beating or "milking" the system.

For those who live or have lived there because of economic downtimes, they are thankful for a place to live while "getting back on their feet" so to speak. They move out to a better home, stop receiving food stamps or other help because that is what these programs are supposed to be- TEMPORARY PROGRAMS to help people UNTIL they can help themselves.

Renaming this place did nothing to curb the crime- erecting the fences only brought uprising from most of the residents who lived inside. I know of two who later moved out and found houses INSIDE Lake Monticello- another GATED community.

Especially now there is a need for housing- we are still in bad times and there are families who genuinely need assistance. Either change the laws so that occupants show progress to help themselves off these subsidies (like Work Aid years back), or revisit the laws, enact tougher penalties so that generations of welfare users no longer have this crutch

Whether compassion is merited or not, concentrated poverty is never a particularly good thing. Westhaven and Garrett Square are real problem locales. They make a strong contrast with the neighborhoods near them, which are of similar socio-economic makeup, but have a better mix - Rose Hill or Starr Hill vs. Westhaven; Belmont or Ridge vs. Garrett Square. Yes, the ongoing re-re-development of "Friendship Court" will improve crime and quality of life for people in that part of downtown. The residents of Garrett Square will be better served with Section 8 housing vouchers which allow them to become part of more economically and socially diverse communities elsewhere in town. Bill's picture perfectly captures the irony and problems with this attempt to address poverty.

Perhaps an interesting story would be to do an audit of the last 20 years as to how many people paid rent, how many people moved on, how many people are still living there, how many people were ejected for rules or arrests, etc etc.

That would at least give a basis to make judgments.

I do know that there are a lot of people who comment on the big screen TV mounted on the bedroom wall you can see from the street when you park to go downtown...

Years ago, had a car break down close to Garrett Square. Within a minute, two residents were offering assistance and refused my offer of compensation after they helped push my car out of traffic and into a parking lot.

About two months later, car broke down again (it was a crappy vehicle) in front of the NSA building. It was lunchtime and scores of employees were milling about outside. My plight was completely ignored.

In short, be careful with your generalizations.

@ AngryOldMan,

Where do you think the people lived that broke into your car downtown (both times)?

I think Bill captured what he wanted to capture. A black and white image of a closed steel gate with cold sharp edges. A sign stating that even mans best friend ain't welcome here. If he had taken a pic of a family residing in this place it would have a different essence. I been all around this world and this town. I have seen plenty of good people come from bad places and plenty of bad folks coming from good places.

@PP, read more closely, he said break down, not broken into.

Is the big dog on the sign being humped by a little dog? Or am I seeing things?

Sometimes humping is all I can invision.

I could be wrong, but I think the gates and fences were installed about 20 years ago at the request of everyone (residents, management, cops) in an effort to keep out non-residents who were themselves a crime problem.

"Where do you think the people lived that broke into your car downtown (both times)?"

Your reading miscomprehension aside, you'd be a good case study in subjective validation.

"Where do you think the people lived that broke into your car downtown (both times)?"

Your reading miscomprehension aside, you'd be a great case study in 'subjective validation'.

Alas, it can be things like Section 8 housing which keeps fathers from sticking around, marrying etc. I would be curious to know the true number of baby daddies that live in Section 8 off the books so the money flows.

I believe Bill is making a point about the fence here, and it's not a bad point. There's already good visibility and enough people around to keep an eye on things, so over-the-top security measures might be unnecessary and even counterproductive.

@ New Reality: With that fence they're just acclimating the residents for their future stays at the City Hotel out on Avon St Extended..

Tear down the complex and relocate the residents so the city can use the property for something better, like a permanent city market that EVERYONE can enjoy. People PAY a premium to live so close to the downtown area. It is a misallocation of resources to put subsidized housing on such prime city land. The entitlement for these folks is free or reduced rent, not free or reduced rent in the nicest part of town.

At Friendship Court, none of the shootings are gang related, its just friendly fire.