By SJWNY, a Trail Mix Contributor
I’ve thought about writing a Post on this topic for a while but have hesitated. Discussing the people who make up a neighborhood & how their actions influence it can be divisive. Black & White with no Gray seems to be the outcome. My side, Your side. We are both rubber, We are both glue.
This year marks 25 years I have lived in my neighborhood. The houses here were inexpensive & highly available in 1992. White Flight had taken hold & a good deal of this area was minority, African American & Puerto Rican. Crime was rampant: drugs, prostitution, gangs. HIV, AIDS. Why did we buy a house in this scenario? Because we got a big house with a big yard & a real honest to goodness driveway, which is a plus during the winter. Also the location is within easy walking distance of downtown & about a mile from the Canadian border. It was a chance taken not for the present but for the future.
There were many years the house was broken in to. Replacing doors, even metal doors with metal frames was a habit. Looking out the window at 3am to a view of hookers servicing clients in the front yard. Syringes littering the yards, stuck in the poor old maple tree. Used condoms dumped on the lawn. Coming home to find graffiti written across the front door in black magic marker. (Handy hint: Simple Green, straight out of the bottle, is a life saver in removing ink.) I will not let these bastards get me down was my mantra. This is my home.
Then about 10 years ago young professionals discovered what a bargain this area was. Beautiful homes waiting to be loved & restored. Great location to the downtown. And yes, they were/are for the most part Caucasian. The LGBTQ community is a strong presence; the next street over from me, which was a notorious drug & gang street, is now lined with restored homes & gardens. It is thriving. It is reborn. People want to move here, invest here. As a consequence, the value of my property has quadrupled.
There is a new wave of immigrants from Yemen. An abandoned theatre a couple blocks away is now a Mosque. These are quiet, law abiding people who keep their homes neat & make sure their children go to school. They are what we wish for in a neighbor.
Not long ago I drove through an area of the city that just a couple years ago was a dump. Homes that had garbage literally covering the yard, weeds up to my waist. Then a major hospital decided to build a medical campus nearby. Thousands of educated professionals would be employed there. Many looked at the cheap fixer-uppers (more like miracles needed) & bought these homes to live in near by. And guess what …. the local population is upset that they are being priced out. Priced out of an area that many could not find the gumption to bend over to pick up the trash or burn a calorie to pull a weed or scrub the graffiti off the buildings. I feel no pity.
Is this wrong? Or is it the fact that in getting older the realization of being responsible & taking responsibility for ones’ actions becomes ingrained, at least in those willing to listen?
How many of you have gone through the resurrection of your neighborhood? I like this area, I like the neighbors.
Is this bad?
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