The first in a series from Church Hill TV.
The Harts rock. This is a fun video series.
Did whoever make this realize how absurd this sounds? As if the neighborhood just somehow sprouted out of nowhere, and was never a history, and isn’t predominantly black. It’s astounding how ignorant this video appears.
This is great, thanks for putting this together Elaine.
Betsy’s work at the Robinson Theater has become a huge force for good in the community.
Also a huge fan of what Better Housing Coalition has done. So many predominantly vacant blocks have been stabilized and brought back into the existing fabric of the neighborhood.
I’m trying to do what my mama taught me — bite my tongue if I’ve got nothing nice to say. But this video is pretty gross and folks not seeing why that is… that’s even more troubling. Nothing personal against the Harts, but the approach and narrative of this video is disturbing to me as a resident of Church Hill since about 2003.
@4 and 6…this may get interesting but…I’m going to ask you to elaborate on your thoughts. I suppose you would be troubled that, for the life of me, I can’t figure out why you’re bothered by this video. I may be speculating but are you saying that the video is ignoring/leaving out/whatever you want to call it an entire population of the community or portraying the community differently than you see it?
I have nothing against the couple in the video, but I would have to say that this neighborhood was built at least a few years(and by few i mean at least a century) before newcomers decided to come on over and “start from scratch” and fix the “blight”.
Before things get too interesting, I’d like help figuring out how interested in this I should be. Who made this video and for what purpose? It’s says it’s Episode 1 — so are there more in the works? What will those be like? Who is the intended audience? Likewise, if I have concerns about it, to whom can I effectively direct those grievances to?
Does anyone out there know the answers to any of these questions?
while i commend the harts for rooting themselves in this community we all love, i find the “from scratch” comment troubling. it reminds me of people calling white folks moving in “pioneers” just because they moved into a predominantly african american neighborhood. there is great condescension implied that discredits and disrespects an already established community.
Knowing what I do of the work that Betsy does, and with the video’s connection to Better Housing Coalition, I think that y’all are hearing this wrong.
Take a second to make yourself aware of what kinds of things the Robinson Theater does. Better yet, stop by and see it.
As for Better Housing Coalition…There are areas of Church Hill North and Fairmount that were almost entirely vacant through the 1990s and into the last decade. (Like the 1200 block of 22nd Street… & more). As recently as 2009, Church Hill North led the city in vacant houses, a stat that doesn’t event take into account vacant lots. As weird as it sounds now, some of these blocks have since been repopulated (from scratch).
BHC has been a remarkable force for building and renovating affordable housing. They sell the houses at below market rates and fill the formerly vacant blocks good neighbors, helping to rebuild the working fabric of the community.
When I mapped it 4 years ago, BHC had build or rehabbed more than 90 houses in a fairly small area of the community (http://chpn.net/news/2008/08/08/almost-90-houses-by-better-housing-coalition_1973/). They’ve most recently been lauded for their mixed-income, age-inclusive, sustainable housing at Beckstoffer’s.
I feel some of y’all wanting to rail against what you see as gentrification, but you’re getting the sharpened sticks out for the absolute wrong people here.
The question “who made this video and for what purpose?” is something well worth asking, perhaps even before making assumptions about what people intend.
I’m actually a big fan of both the Robinson Theater and the BHC. Clearly, this video needs context. As far as assumptions, how about another oldie but goodie: Don’t shoot the messenger. I’m seeing a lot of people react very strongly and negatively about this video on Facebook. Regardless of intent and context, obviously something went wrong in the execution and delivery. If the video producers are at all interested in making a product that folks respond to more positively, then I would think that they’d be interested in hearing honest reactions to it.
I feel like those who may have an issue with the video have a limited perspective of the larger neighborhood. They may be viewing it as it exists today. Just a few short years ago, it wasn’t considered hip, trendy, or cool to live in some of the North Church Hill areas. And I respectfully disagree that these were largely African American communities. You see, in the areas where BHC has redeveloped….there was no community. A block of abandoned houses does not constitute a community. Boarded up, blighted, condemned and abandoned served nobody well. The folks who moved in to the new or renovated homes were literally moving into a new community. It’s absolutely wrong to think that folks were being displaced through gentrification….there was nobody there to begin with.
I would add that intention doesn’t mean a whole lot when the effect of the video include weirdly racially coded language and naive savior complexes. I am sure the Harts are wonderful people, but it strikes me from the video that they acted upon those good intentions before even asking whether or not people wanted their actions.
There’s something to be said about listening rather than presuming. There seems to be a sentiment beyond this video that being able (financially) to do a thing is the same as being sanctioned to do a thing. This video did not need to be made.
@Muna–where are you seeing the negative reactions on Facebook?
What I would like to see from this series are people who have lived in Church Hill for long periods of time, to describe the changes the neighborhood has undergone.
@Jay – Could you elaborate? What is this “racially coded language” you speak of? It seems like you’re the one “presuming” something that doesn’t exist here.
Maybe you should watch this:
And you might realize that residents are asking for these “actions”.
@Trish – It says on the page, “We interviewed a number of Church Hill residents for this project, both old and new, and will add to this series in the spring and summer of 2014.”
I BEEN IN THIS AREA JUST ABOUT ALL MY LIFE! THESE BUILDIN OR HOUSES HAVE BEEN HERE FOR YEARS !!! DNT NOBODY CARE ABOUT THESE HOUSES NOW !! THEY BUYS HOUSES FOR DIRT CHEAT TROWIN OLDER PPL OUT BUY RAISIN TAXES ON THIER HOUSES SO THEY CNT AFFORD TO PAY FOR THEM !! ONCXE THEY LOSE THIER HOUSE HERE COME OTHER PPL COME AND SCOOP THEM WHY NT TALK ABOUT THE HISTORY OF THE HOUSES AROUND HERE NT A WHITE COUPLE THAT BEEN HERE FOR FIVE YEARS THEY ARE NT THE HISTORY OF CHURCH HILL
U NO ITS PPL THAT COME WALKIN THREW UR YARD TALKIN ABOUT HOW THEY WILL REBUILD UR HOUSE WITH U SITTIN ON UR FRONT LIKE UR NT EVEN THERE PPL JUST BEIN RUDE CAUSE U DNT WANT TO SELL UR HOUSE !! ND WE TRYIN TO KEEP THE HOUSE UP TO DATE !! WONDERIN HOW U GOIN TO PAY TAXES ON UR HOUSE U BEEN LIVIN IN FOREVER!1 SO YES THE TAPE IS VERY UPSETIN THAT THE HART THAT ONLY BEEN HERE FOR FIVE YEARS !! TO MAKE A TAPE !!! ND IM A BLACK WOMAN NT A AFRICAN AMERICAN!! WHO TRYIN TO KEEP HER HOUSE NO EXCUSE THAT IS GOIN TO KEEP HER HOUSE
This short film (and the others in post production,) originated as a pro-bono project for Better Housing Coallition in 2012.
At the time, the BHC staffer/historian working with me went to great pains to recruit a very diverse population of interview subjects, including senior citizens who grew up in this neighborhood and are African American.
Their stories and perspectives about the greater Church Hill area are unique, and, understandably quite different from the Hart’s.
Folks who are looking for a different story about this neighborhood will find it in the next episodes.
I thought it was nice. Look forward to future episodes.
Elaine, thanks so much for answering some of my questions. Now that you’ve clarified that it’s a project featuring BHC and the awesome work they do, I can much better understand what your intention was here. I’m looking forward to seeing the next episodes. Are those just going to be posted here? Is there any other plan for sharing this series?
By the way, I think we may have met before via the Tricycle Garden plot on your corner? It’ll be great to see you again now that Spring has sprung.
Muna, you threw stones before you asked questions. I hope you learned a lesson before you post again.
Monique…writing in all caps implies that you are yelling! Why are you yelling? I have a feeling you know how to read and write very well, why in the world would you want other people to assume you are uneducated?
Julia, actually I just gave my honest reaction to the video, which I still find disturbing despite its intentions. The fact that people’s responses to my concerns and others’ voiced here have been limited to questioning our credibility, intelligence and experience, as well as defending people and organizations that we were never attacking, seems to unfortunately show that ya’ll aren’t the least bit interested in learning any lesson there is to be learned here. A dialogue that actually responds to the concerns raised would be nice. We’re all neighbors and I have hopes that this site can serve as a good forum for productive conversations.
@23 – what exactly is the lesson you are proposing we learn here?
It bothers me that no one that’s on the defense has bothered to respond to Monique who offered a really valid perspective and seems justly pissed. I also take huge issue with the “started from scratch” statement. I find it extremely short sighted. No one has seemed to mention the economic ebb and flow Churchill has had and the deep history with that. It’s not as though those houses were just empty “blighted” houses from conception. Blight is also based in a privileged perspective. Not going back far enough in history is also short sighted. I think the ask here is that because people have raised serious and similar concerned with the language of this video (which had some pretty classist and racist connotations) that those concerned could be thoroughly thought about when making episode 2 so to make it more inclusive and accurate. I don’t really think that’s a whole lot to ask. Just giving my two cents!
I found the “starting from scratch” statement at the beginning of the video to be incredibly offensive to Church Hill’s history and community. Also, the above comment that says there was no community in this area because there were blocks of vacant blocks and boarded up houses speaks to the inherent ignorance people have in regards to gentrification. It’s not a process that happens over night, but takes many years to enact.
I found all of the love for the civic association that talked about “cleaning up the trash” and “keeping the crime out” to have serious racial overtones. I distinctly remember going to a city council meeting a few years back and a developer was asking for a zoning permit to construct an AFFORDABLE housing apartment complex in Church Hill. A few African American mothers came to speak in favor of the request, saying it would help them stay in the neighborhood that they grew up in and raise their families. Who came to oppose it? The Church Hill Association, which was represented by older, upper middle class white people who were “concerned about parking issues” that such a development would pose for the area. That moment clearly encapsulated the racial divide occurring in Richmond for me.
Also Monique deserves some serious attention as a Churchill resident for years who is non white. She is bringing up extremely valid points with righteous anger and seems to be being I home which really bothers me. I hope somebody has personally called her.
Oh Nevermind. Someone did respond Monique and it was rude. Julia shame on you for trying to shame others about their writing style and suggesting that they might be uneducated. Completely shameful. People write in all caps when they are MAD and she’s given her reasoning in the post and it’s completely reasonably hence the public back lash to this video.
Good response Muna! I don’t see a “right” or “wrong” here but instead a lack of communication. It is clear to me (now) that these videos are meant to show the diversity and awesomeness of our neighborhood but the video itself doesn’t provide that background. You only get it by reading this thread. I hope the producers take note of that because it is extremely important lesson. The background needs to be addressed in the videos too or people will continue to raise concerns. I too felt uncomfortable when the Hart’s mention in the video that the neighborhood sprouted up. CLEARLY now I understand the history that some of you already know but can you meet the rest of us halfway and realize that , that should probably be clearly addressed in the video?
and the comment of the year goes to Monique!!
@Claire. “Blight is also based in a privileged perspective.” Wow. I never I knew I look at the world privileged because I refer to the boarded up, decrepit, graffiti tagged house that is a magnet for vandalism and litter as blighted. I don’t think you need to be privileged to see something like that and think that maybe its a problem that hurts a neighborhood because it encourages people to make less effort with their own properties.
I hope the next 40+ episodes are about the residents of church hill who have lived here longer than all the new white, (upper) middle class people. Hopefully this isn’t just gonna be a string of videos that are trying to say “hey look! church hill is safe now because its mostly white folks with money! move here quick!”
I want to also say I agree with Muna, Monique and all of the other people commenting with real criticisms and a lot of questions concerning the directors and the intentions of these videos.
Ugh. I was avoiding watching that on purpose. I moved to Church Hill from Fulton Hill in ’96. We moved from Church Hill to Montrose Heights ~2000. That “from scratch” bit hit me like a ton of bricks. It’s great you can enjoy artisinal New Zealand pies and expensive breads, but what about the many small minority owned businesses that are now gone? And are Kip and Betsy going to send lil Kip Jr. to Chimborazo, Bellevue, St. Patrick’s (they can’t b/c it’s now been turned into lofts, imagine that!), or Armstrong High keeping tax dollars going into the shameful RPS school system? Church Hill (and East End) residents have always looked out for each other, have always tried to keep crime out, and have always loved their communities. These traits aren’t new.
I think it is great that this is being discussed. I work at a popular Church Hill establishment. While many people are excited and always discussing the “revitalization of Church Hill”, I think it is terribly important to discuss what a “revitalization” means for all residents…but especially those who have lived there for a long time. History and trendy can’t always be friends. Keep this discussion going, and don’t hate on the people who used this video as motivation to point out the elephant in the room.
CHPN should be discussing whether or not race is a factor in some of the recent, fast, and expensive development in a very old neighborhood.
It should have been clarified in the video but the Better Housing Coalition houses were built from scratch.
Having watched the, video I get where both sides are coming from. The couple comes across in the video with a sanctimonious “look how great we are because we are urban pioneers that have come to save you” douchey tone. BHC does great stuff, but this was bad choice to kick off their series.
The reality is that gentrification is only going to continue. The demand for historic housing is rising and, by virtue of being historic, there is a limited inventory that is still available at a reasonable price. Combine that with the fact that people are returning to the city. Richmond has reversed its population slide. That is only going to accelerate. And those demographic trends are going to result in continued gentrification. It’s unavoidable.
That said, there were a lot of folks living here before gentrification got under way. Their voices need to be heard too. We have to make sure these folks are not taxed out of their homes as property values rise. We have to make sure we have local amenities that appeal to all demographics and economic levels that are represented in the community. There are a lot of people living around here that will never be able to afford a meal at the Roosevelt or Dutch & Company, but they deserve better than Ocean Market and the Blue Wheeler.
What I hope the gentrification does is create new neighborhood jobs and opportunities for residents to help everyone reap the economic benefits of the community’s renaissance. I hope that the gentrification breaks up concentrated pockets of poverty that have existed in the East End for generations that continue to keep many Richmonders in a disadvantaged status for their entire lives without simply displacing poor folks to another hopeless pocket of poverty.
What is happening in Church Hill can be good for EVERYONE—longtime residents and new ones—if we simply pay attention to the needs of everyone in the community. Like it or not, whether you have moved to the community in the last few years, as I have, or have lived here for generations, we are all here now. Only by working together can we make sure everyone benefits from the changes in the neighborhood.
@BAF — good post.
As for the Hart’s, please everyone, give them a break. So they chose some words that you wouldn’t use. Have you ever been put in front of a camera and later found yourself wishing you could have been more articulate or phrased something a little differently. They did this video because they wanted to do something good for a neighborhood that they love. Right now, they are most likley wondering why they did it at all. I’m sure they didn’t anticipate this sh*t-storm.
As the saying goes, no good deed goes unpunished. Unfortunately for the Harts, the punishment is coming from the very neighbors they think so highly of.
@37 – Good point! Calm down people! The Harts are honest, good people who are very involved in supporting the Church Hill community. We’re very fortunate to have them in our neighborhood. If there are issues you’re passionate about in this neighborhood, then I certainly hope you’re getting involved; otherwise, please don’t scare off folks like the Harts (who are very involved) with your armchair quarterback comments.
Hey folks, blame me for anything you don’t like about that short film.
@26 Jen…So what’s done is done. Many of those empty and abandoned houses contributing to the “no community” comment I made, sat empty for decades. What would you propose we do…let them sit there and rot further? Your comments are not appreciated by the long time Church Hill residents who have been here for decades and worked hard to develop the Church Hill you find so interesting (and safe) to call your newly found home. You haven’t a CLUE about what you’re talking about. I’m certain your probably part of the head in the clouds group challenging the development of Shockoe Bottom because of its history. Folks like you rarely accomplish anything but you’ll be the first to throw stones in the direction of anyone who does. Grow up!
It’s a great piece Elaine…keep going. I don’t know how many times or in different ways it could be stated that the Harts are just one small segment of the folks who live in Church Hill sharing THEIR experience. There are many, many more and they will be featured too. I’m certain many of the negative nellies who have just arrived and seem to be riding on the coattails of history that they think they understand. Meanwhile, folks like you and I were actually living it here.
It amazes me when I hear folks throw around the word “gentrification” in many developing areas. I believe they truly lack perspective for what really took place in many Richmond neighborhoods. If gentrification means that folks are being displaced due to investment in the community and driving up the cost of living, I would counter that the exact opposite was happening in many of the areas that BHC has developed. These areas, multiple blocks went dark due to the lack of invest in the area. After WWII, Richmond was experiencing white flight into the suburbs causing property values (and therefore, the tax base) to rapidly erode. It wasn’t getting more expensive to live in the city, it was getting cheaper since nobody wanted to live there. With an eroding tax base, the school system went right along with the decline of the city. Crime was on the rise and it became very unsafe to survive in many of these former communities. Even the poorest folks moved out or died in their homes which were never reoccupied. Blocks went dark. These blocks lost population due to the lack of investment in their community. In the BHC areas, I really doubt many were displaced because developers were moving in driving up rents or real estate taxes. You couldn’t get a developer to invest a dime back in the hood. Today is a different story. I’ll bet that many of the newcomers wouldn’t believe that just a short 15 years ago, at least 50% (maybe more) of the homes on BROAD ST were boarded up and empty starting at McDonalds and moving up the hill. 15 years was not long ago and much has changed. Gentrification was in play in this area as it still maintained some residents. Gentrification was not the cause of folks being displaced in the long abandoned homes of North Church Hill. Nobody was being displaced…they didn’t want to live there. It was too unsafe.
It’s a lovely video. I can’t think of one thing wrong with being invested in your own neighborhood.
I sat here with a box of tissues and cried at the amount of effort some individuals took to write such heart felt endless paragraphs…..
You know what would be interesting? I would love to take a poll and have everyone post why they REALLY moved to Church Hill.
Hell, i’ll be the first:
My house is really close to work, it was affordable and I hated living in the westend near Short Pump!
re-reading this thread, it really doesn’t seem like anyone is blaming the harts. in fact most praise them. the issue is that this video, as an introduction, doesn’t give enough information to not jump to conclusions. the “from scratch” comment has no context to specific areas of the neighborhood. the video just states church hill, which is pretty vast. i have been a member of this community in some form since 1993. my partner and his family since 1971. from my experience in those years, i have seen how hurt people have been by “renewal” and “gentrification”, and from that there are certain words that are sensitive–insensitive you could say–making them hot buttons.
is it at all possible to re-edit this video so that there is more context? it just might need more clarity to not sound obtuse. i understand it is a series, and future episodes may give a rounder picture, but this one has set a tone that i don’t believe was meant.
@44…I broke up my paragraphs.
That said, my reason for me moving here was it was close to both my wife’s office and my office (6 minute commute)…we got a cool historic house that had an amazing renovation done to it at a price that was way below what something of similar quality would have cost in the West End…said renovation’s historic tax credits means I pay lower real estate taxes in the City than I would in the County….my wife really loved the house, which meant I was going to be living here whether I wanted to or not.
Some of this rhetoric is straight up colonialist! @Laura- Yes, I oppose the stadium in Shockoe Bottom for multiple reasons, some of them historical. Many people throughout the city and country care deeply about these historical issues and should not be treated in a dismissive manner.
Everyone “knows” gentrification is bad — what most folks fail to realize is it’s the kind of bad that presents itself as good. White supremacy plays a huge part in what is happening all over Richmond. I encourage all involved to conduct some critical analysis.
@48… If “gentrification” is “bad” as you claim everyone knows, does that mean leaving vacant, boarded up properties, many of which are in a delapated if not dangerous condition is “good?”
I challenge you, Cassandra, to give some examples of what you perceive as “white supremacy” in Richmond. I would be interested in hear (and I am not meaning this negatively but would truly like for you to expand on your comment).
I want to hear some very concrete reasons for why “gentrification is bad”, other than raising property taxes on the people that were in the neighborhood prior to gentrification. Neglected houses being restored and renovated, sold to families that actually CARE about their property and neighborhood? Vacant storefronts being reopened by businesses willing to take a risk and invest their own money into the neighborhood? Property base rising, thus (theoretically at least) improving the allocation to schools, public works and safety? All of these things are bad? Most of you whine about gentrification have no clue what you’re talking about. None. Zip. I say not only is gentrification not bad, it’s good. Would you rather live in Church Hill 15-20 years ago or today?
@51 – I agree with a lot of what you said there but to say give some reasons other than higher taxes is like saying “give some reasons why murder is bad other than someone dies.” The higher taxes are the biggest reason and I think they’re an important part of the discussion.
What’s debatable are whether the benefits the incumbents receive (better schools, lower crime, more services) are enough to make it worth paying the higher taxes. Oftentimes they aren’t so we shouldn’t be dismissive of this concern.
One idea that I’d love to see tried is for the city to fix property levels based on values at the time people buy a home. That would help ensure that people don’t get displaced from a gentrifying neighborhood and would reward those who add to their neighborhood’s value.
Alex: really? If the “taxes going up” is the only grievance of people against gentrification, then it’s a ridiculous one. Richmond city taxes at $1.2 per $1000 in assessment every year. So let’s say your property went up a $100,000 in value – an extreme case that takes years an years to materialize, if ever. Even in this extreme scenario, your property taxes just went up $1,200 per year. Ok. To a lot of people that’s a lot of money but COMMON – it’s not the end of the freaking world. In exchange you have a safer neighborhood, better amenities, etc etc.
Quit crying. You have to pay $1200 more in taxes? Deal with it. Get a promotion. Work a few more hours a week. Get a better education and a better job. I don’t know. But stop blaming “the man”. Stop blaming the people that see big potential in your community and invest a lot of money in it to make it better. Some people contribute to the betterment of the world. Others just sit around and cry all day.
Gentrification–yikes. “Deal with it!” “Quit crying” “Get a promotion”
These are extremely ignorant comments, I don’t even know where to begin.
Tackling the issue of gentrification is a tough one. We can all agree that we’d rather see occupied storefronts and houses than boarded up ones on any given day. But, there has to be consideration for those who can’t afford market rate homes, apartments; more of an effort to hire a diverse staff; connect with the neighborhood (all of the neighborhood). There are constructive ways to build good business while also not pricing out the current residents.
@53 – I’m not speaking for myself as I’m doing quite comfortably thank you. I was just trying to illustrate why the financial side is a big deal to a lot of people. How many times have we seen Scott Burger bring his water bill soapbox out to talk about saving $7 or some shit. There are people whose budgets are tight enough that amounts like that are a big deal. This is multiple times that.
You and I may have an extra $100 a month but not everyone does. I’m not suggesting that a.) we should stop making the neighborhood nicer or b.) we should vilify those who move here and do so (I think both of those are awful ideas) but just wanted to point out that some compassion and recognition of financial realities is in order.
consideration for those that can’t afford market rate homes exists in MANY forms: Section 8, VHDA, HUD, Habitat for Humanity, etc. THere are also plenty of cheap apartments and houses for rent in this neighborhood still.
Hire a diverse staff? That’s a ridiculous notion. Hire the best people for the job regardless of color, race, etc – absolutely. But don’t around pointing fingers at new businesses for not having a diverse staff. Nobody owes you a job. These businesses didn’t exist at all before so nobody took your job away either.
@Gentrification–we could go back and forth all day. but i’ll second what Alex said. Compassion and recognition of financial realities is in order.
Your lack of both is stifling and offensive. Do some research on the average rent and the average income. Many VHDA low income tax credit apartments end up having income caps that many people cannot meet. I know a VHDA project where a certain percentage of people have to make somewhere around $70k. It’s not as cut and dry as you think.
I didn’t say outright hire a diverse staff–I said make an effort. Are businesses putting their ads in the Times as well as the Free Press?
Seriously, do some research.
This article may be good for some of you to read. I’m appalled by some people’s lack of critical analysis and understanding of the implications of gentrification. Why is it so hard for white people to take polite but constructive criticism. I feel like some people have some serious meditation to do a asking “why do I react to crisisicm with such defense? Am I sure I’m right?” And also maybe do some reading. http://www.salon.com/2014/04/08/gentrifications_insidious_violence_the_truth_about_american_cities/
“And are Kip and Betsy going to send lil Kip Jr. to Chimborazo, Bellevue, St. Patrick’s (they can’t b/c it’s now been turned into lofts, imagine that!), or Armstrong High keeping tax dollars going into the shameful RPS school system? ”
THIS. If you look around Church Hill you don’t see a lot of kids over elementary school age (because Bellevue and Chimborazo are good). When residents start sending their kids to MLK or Armstrong, that’s when I’ll believe they are truly invested in the community. But that will never happen except in isolated instances.
Why did we move to Church Hill? We were only two people (plus several cats) living in a way-too-big colonial McHouse in the Chesterfield ‘burbs. Despite being brought up in a little New Jersey farm town I love cities, and I fell in love with the Hill the moment I saw it. Yes, I enjoy having restaurants and bakeries within walking distance, but I also love the diversity and friendliness. We know our neighbors, many of whom have lived here longer than I’ve been alive. I like watching guys play spades next to people doing yoga in Chimborazo Park. I like talking college basketball with the gang on the next block. I like watching my husband get his hair cut at Ben’s Barber Shop on Marshall Street, home to Ben, whose array of suits and matching shoes is simply awe-inspiring. I may or may not have drunk moonshine purchased from some guy selling it out of his house on 35th Street. In our old development we knew exactly ONE family, and we didn’t even talk to them that much. This neighborhood has a lot to offer. Enjoy EVERYTHING.
I think if he had not made that unfortunate “from scratch” statement, this thread would not exist.
Gentrification – as with most of life’s propositions, there will be winners and losers. For all the good that it produces, there will be unavoidably bad consequences (for some). Yeah, life’s not fair…so, can we just get on with the progress at-hand?
Do we really want to go back to the 90’s on the Hill? HELL NO! Yes, I am sensitive to those who have come before us; but more importantly, with all that has recently transpired (over the past 15 yrs.), I am now more hopeful for those who will come after us. I say let’s continue to move forward and work even harder to make our little community a better place. It’s called progress…#why fight the renaissance.
Wow – this thread is really misplaced. For those people in the neighborhood who are in the know, Betsy Hart is an absolute treasure. The amount of good she’s done for the neighborhood in her job (in no way “gentrification”) is astounding. We love you Betsy.
I’m very late to this thread — I just “discovered” this video post.
This is like people commending and continuing to celebrate Columbus for “discovering” America (The Americas), and quite ignorantly renaming people that were already inhabitants “Indians” because he was in the wrong part of the world. These early Italian, European and Spanish explorers were not nice people; they stole the land, brought their diseases and slaughtered the natives, as well as inflicted all other manner of inhumane and vile treatment, and then claimed the land as if it was always theirs or not gained at the expense of the natives .
— I’m certainly not saying the Hart’s are in anyway those type of people, but caucasian’s have historically left inner cities (if they were ever there in the first place) and then when it’s en-vogue again to be an urbanite, or can find cheap real-estate (at a steal) –decide to “relocate” back to inner-cities and call it reinvestment and revitalization — put in round-abouts garnished with flower-beds; get zoning changes and building codes updated and finally enforced; perhaps even get a new, technologically savvy public school built or re-built in the “hood”; and eventually in a decade or so, drive-out the urban dwellers who had been their for generations and are usually African American, to some other part of town
— until they decide in a few decades (or maybe not even that long), that that area is en-vogue again, and their “new” conquest will be to begin the cycle all over again.
I’m all for progress, rehabilitation, upgrading, whatever adjectives come to mind — but I have a problem when it is at the expense of minorities or the poor or even the middle-class or working poor minorities — and it historically is!
We should all stop pretending that race and class is not still as entrenched in the American fabric as it has always been since the country’s founding. Good work is only good work when it is inclusive of all irrespective of race, class, social& economic status. #61 – your aloofness to the real issue is why there is no authentic progress in America.
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