I’ve seen many ways of coping for people who chose to move to our transitional neighborhood, including a mix of actions:
· Dig in the heels, stake a claim, and work to make a bad block better;
· Escape to another neighborhood when faced with a bad neighbor;
· Move to a quieter block within our neighborhood;
· Pretend that certain unpleasant activities aren’t happening right around the corner;
· Do nothing, and hope for an escape route; and
· Be proactive, and plan for a possible move.
So, now we are in an in-between phase of continuing our proactive work in the neighborhood, completing some big house projects, and debating our long-term future here. Within the neighborhood, there have been leaps and bounds since our arrival. To be honest, the neighborhood has been especially pleasant for the past two years. Our police lieutenant has worked with our neighborhood and changed the way police and neighbors work together. Despite the recession, old houses are slowly purchased by responsible homeowners.
But, then I drive out of the neighborhood and onto the commercial strip (which is the main access for our neighborhood). All that good, gooey feeling melts away: groups of young men selling hard drugs on the corners who all live in the neighborhood north of us; constant litter that blows onto the residential streets from the corridor; dilapidated storefronts; a used car lot that gouges people for trashed vehicles… the list continues. That is the immediate welcome for those brave enough to drive into our area – a shock for most suburbanite friends who roll up the windows and lock the doors on their way into our neighborhood.
I wonder how much I see and don’t see by having been here for four years. I know there’s been immense change, and sometimes it’s hard for many of us to see when we are always fighting some small battle: the last standing drug house, the ABC license for the nuisance store, the litter from the one bad renter. Our home is a resting place, but often the larger surroundings are anything but…