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Exposing Jacksonville's "Phoenix"

Outside of downtown Jacksonville, when one mentions urban neighborhoods, the names of Riverside/Avondale, San Marco, and Springfield come to mind. However, Jacksonville is a city blessed to have several historical communities just as impressive and walkable in their own right. Just east of Springfield and straddling Phoenix Avenue, what began as the Dyal Upchurch subdivision is a relatively unknown urban core treat.

Published October 3, 2012 in Neighborhoods      34 Comments    Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article


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About the Neighborhood

Dating back to 1904, what is now known as the Phoenix Avenue neighborhood was originally platted as the Dyal-Upchurch subdivision by Frank Upchurch and Benjamin Dyal's Dyal-Upchurch Investment Company. Dyal-Upchurch was a Georgia investment company that moved to Jacksonville after the Great Fire of 1901. Frank Upchurch had interests in turpentine and lumber, while Benjamin Dyal owned a sawmill.

The company's main office building was the first multi-story structure built in the barren downtown area and the first design by Klutho in Jacksonville. Construction began on a five-story building, but demand for office space spurred the addition of a sixth floor by the time the structure was completed in May 1902. The company ceased business in Jacksonville after 1924.


A 1924 plat map illustrating the Phoenix Avenue area subdivisions and Jacksonville Traction Company streetcar lines through the community.  The two largest subdivisions platted in the area after the Great Fire of 1901 were Dyal-Upchurch (purple) and Highland Park (pink), both between Phoenix Avenue and Haines Street.


Phoenix Avenue



Phoenix Avenue is the historical heart of the Dyal UpChurch community and now recognized as the greater neighborhood's name.  Located in the center of the neighborhood, no residences is further than a two to three block walk from this thoroughfare.  The name "Phoenix" represented Jacksonville rising from the ashes of the 1901 fire.

Previous city studies suggest that this corridor was once a residential street before being taken over by commercial intrusion.  However, this line of thinking is inaccurate.  A century ago, Phoenix Avenue served as a streetcar corridor tying the neighborhood to the rest of the city.  A streetcar ride south, took residents to Springfield and downtown Jacksonville.  A ride north provided direct access to Evergreen Cemetery, while a ride to the east provided access to the river and Talleyrand.  

Since the automobile was more of a novelty than a necessity, Phoenix Avenue developed into a corridor with some of Jacksonville's earliest examples of transit oriented development.  During the neighborhood's heyday, the needs of everyday life were either within walking distance or a streetcar ride away for its residents.

Particularly, the four block stretch of the avenue between Adelia (now 12th) and  Mitchell (now 15th) Streets was dominated with commercial uses catering to the surrounding community by 1920.

According to the 1927 city directory, businesses in operation during that period included Royal George Meats, Whidden's Cash Stores, J.R.E. Kennedy Drugs, George Conner's Groceries, and Sam Lapedes Dry Goods.  By 1950, the retail scene included Daylight Grocery Company, Fred B. Wild's Restaurant, Jax Meat Company, Sheldon Grooms Drugs, and Tarratus Five & Dime Store.

Today, many of these early 20th century commercial buildings still remain standing adjacent to residences dating back to the same time period.  In addition, the width of Phoenix Avenue is a direct reminder of its days of having a fixed rail system running on it.


The Jacksonville Traction Company car #168 on the Phoenix Park streetcar line.  Like the neighborhood, it was named "Phoenix" after the city rose from the ashes of the 1901 fire. This car ran a route via Main Street, from Bay and Main to Walnut, to Phoenix, to Evergreen to Trout River. Image courtesy of the State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, http://floridamemory.com/items/show/32075









Riteway Laundry & Dry Cleaners






The remaining commercial buildings at the intersection of Phoenix Avenue and 15th Street were constructed between 1909 and 1919.


This two story building was completed in 1913 at the intersection of Phoenix Avenue and 15th Street, along the Phoenix Park streetcar line.  In 1927, the Sam Lapedes Dry Goods store was located on the first floor.  By 1950, Sam Lapedes had been replaced by the Lee Furniture Company.


Custom Propulsion Systems has been in operation since 1953.

Quote
In business since 1953, Ellis Propeller is one of the largest full service and marine hardware manufacturers in the Southeastern United States located in Jacksonville, Florida. Ellis Propeller has complete in-house state-of-the-art marine engineering and naval architectural design capabilities. In 1988, Ellis Propeller purchased the Columbian Bronze tooling for the Hydrosonic, Crewboat, Fishmaster, Kaplan, Mako, and many others designs. In 1996, Ellis Propeller was sold and became Custom Propulsion Systems, doing business as the Ellis Propeller Company.
http://www.custom-ps.com/



Evergreen Avenue



Now recognized as the Phoenix Avenue neighborhood, the Dyal-Upchurch community was designed to accommodate a mix of uses within walking distance of each other.  The westermost of three major north/south local streets in the community, Evergreen Avenue includes a mix of residential and heavy industrial uses straddling the old Springfield rail yard.  Originally, Evergreen Avenue connected the communities of Oakland and East Jacksonville with the Evergreen Cemetery, which was established in 1880.  However, the construction of the 20th Street Expressway (now MLK, Jr. Parkway) would sever that connection during the 1950s.

Unlike many century old industrial districts, this corridor is home to several long time businesses that have not abandoned the urban core for newer locations.  Many of these companies provide with community with an self sustaining economic asset that other older neighborhoods throughout the city lack.


Springfield railyard


The neighborhood's largest land owner is Berman Brothers, Inc.  Berman Brothers is the largest family-owned and operated new steel warehousing and scrap recycling facility in North Florida.  Their industrial complex includes the former Smullian Building Supply Company's Evergreen Avenue property.

Quote
In the early 1940's, Milton and Harry Berman started a small scrap yard on Jacksonville's East 8th Street, M. Berman & Co. and Berman Bros., Surplus & Sales, dealing in WWII surplus items. With the addition of the first baling machine, furnace and roll off truck in Jacksonville, the companies merged into Berman Bros., Inc. at 2726 Evergreen Avenue.
http://www.bermanbros.com/about.php




Rubin Iron Works, Berman Brothers' metal fabrication and machine shop, is located a few blocks south on Carmen Street. Adjacent to the railyard that separates the neighborhood from Springfield, the iron works facility has been in operation since 1914.

Quote
Since our blacksmithing roots on Bay Street in 1914 to our early days at Carmen Street, Rubin Iron Works, LLC has come a long way offering unsurpassed technical skill and superior customer service for nearly 100 years.

Originally incorporated in May 1927, Rubin Iron Works LLC united with Berman Bros., Inc. in 2005 to broaden our offerings as a full-service metal center and to contribute to the revitalization of the neighborhood.
http://www.rubinironworks.com/#top


Looking towards the Rubin Iron Works on Carmen Avenue, from Springfield, in 1963. Image courtesy of State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, http://floridamemory.com/items/show/167640






The Thompson Awning Company is a leading manufacturer of Stationary Awnings.  Located adjacent to the Rubin Iron Works at the intersection of Evergreen Avenue and Dyal Streets, the building housing the company dates back to 1919.  In 1927, it was the Duval Broom Factory. Of interesting note is how this manufacturing plant meets the street.  Despite being industrial, it interacts with the sidewalks at the pedestrian scale level with office entrances, windows and storefront awnings, which buffer the more intense industrial uses away from the mix of uses along Evergreen Avenue.  


This building at 635 East 12th Street was once the home of the Canada Dry Bottling Company of Jacksonville. Canada Dry Pale Ginger Ale was created by Canadian pharmacist and chemist John J. McLaughlin in 1904.  The drink grew in popularity as a mixer during Prohibition, when its flavor helped mask the taste of homemade liquor, leading them to expand worldwide in the 1930s. Prior to shifting operations to this East 12th Street plant in 1939, the company's local bottling plant was located at 619 Houston Street in LaVilla. Products bottled at this location included Ginger Ale, Canada Dry Water, Tom Collins Mixer, Hires Root Beer, Sparkling Water and Tru-Fruit Flavors. In 1978, the company closed this urban core bottling factory and relocated to 6045 Bowdendale Avenue in Jacksonville's Southside.


GOSAN USA produces fabricated sheaves and crane components. GOSAN USA opened their 14,000 square foot facility in 2008 with the main purpose of providing their customers in the Western Hemisphere a more expedient delivery and service of their products while maintaining the same high quality and innovative products manufactured by GOSAN (Spain) since 1971.


This abandoned East 10th Street warehouse, adjacent to the Springfield railyard, dates back to 1919. In 1930, this building was occupied by the Atlanta-based Beck & Gregg Hardware Company.  Established by Lewis Hicks Beck, the company's roots dated back to 1866 and it was known as the first mercantile company ever incorporated in the South. In 1950, the structure was occupied by F.H.Ross & Company.  By the 1960s, the 20,000 square foot building and an adjacent 40,000 square foot warehouse was occupied by the Atlantic Bag & Paper Company.  Atlantic Bag & Paper manufactured paper bags, plates and cups.  Today, the facility waits quietly for a new use.




The Evergreen Filling Station building at 8th Street and Evergreen Avenue was completed in 1929.  By 1936, the streetcar line it was located on was no longer in operation as Jacksonville transitioned into an autocentric community.


Paul Murray Oil has been in the Florida petroleum business since 1930, with over 75 years of service in Jacksonville.


The Horse and Kennel Warehouse carries products rarely viewed as necessary in an urban setting, such as the Dyal-Upchurch neighborhood.

Quote
Horse and Kennel Warehouse was established in 1988. The store covers over 7500 square feet and contains over $2 million of inventory for the equine enthusiast. Quality, name brand products are all we offer to our customers. And plenty of it. You won't find just one or two styles of riding accessories, you'll see dozens of options to choose from. Complete and extensive product lines of saddles, bridles, bits, reins, headstalls, saddle pads and every imaginable tack accessory you can think of for the English and Western rider.
http://www.horseandkennel.com/



Public Right-of-Way

Like many urban Jacksonville neighborhoods, the poor maintenance of public right-of-way really stands out throughout the community.  On several streets, sidewalks have been taken back by nature or missing altogether, which forces pedestrians into the streets with cars and trucks.









Franklin Street

Franklin Street runs parallel to Phoenix Avenue through the neighborhood.  It once connected the community with the neighborhoods of Longbranch and the Eastside.  However, like its western counterpart, Evergreen Avenue, the connection to the north was severed with the construction of the 20th Street Expressway (MLK Parkway) during the mid-20th century.  While Evergreen Avenue contains a mix of industrial and residential uses, Franklin Street provides connectivity to the neighborhood's public square and elementary school.  

Franklin Street's Edwards Park is a great example of what a passive urban green space should resemble.  It's one of the few public parks in Jacksonville's Northside where pedestrian access isn't restricted by fencing.  Instead it opens up to the community and is surrounded on all four sides by residential structures.



Quote
Edwards Park is located in north Jacksonville’s Dyal-Upchurch subdivision, which was platted in 1904. The Dyal-Upchurch Company moved to the City and hired Henry Klutho as architect for the first high-rise building constructed in downtown after the Great Fire of 1901. During the period from 1920 to 1928, the City purchased the land for the park, which was expanded by the addition of two lots in 1951. When the park opened around 1928, it was named Walter Edwards Park and contained a baseball diamond with a backstop. A small community center with a meeting room and restrooms was built on the west side of Franklin Street, and may at one time been considered part of the park. In 1975, the passive park’s design was the same as today – a square expanse of lawn with a circular concrete walk in the middle, from which diagonal and perpendicular walks radiate to the perimeter.
http://apps2.coj.net/parksinternet/parkdetails.asp?parkid=54




Public School Number 8 opened in 1912.  It eventually became known as J. Allen Axson Elementary School.  Today the school is occupied by the Northeast Springfield Head Start Center.


The Franklin Street Baptist Church


Recently, pedestrian scale connectivity along the Franklin Street corridor has been further severed.  Over the last year, it's Talleyrand Terminal Railroad crossing near the former J. Allen Axson Elementary School was closed (above) and now there is a massive expressway interchange project underway in the same area.


After being in the middle of a residential district since 1914, this structure now finds itself in the middle of a highway interchange.




Haines Street

Haines Street, Dyal UpChurch's fourth major north/south corridor, was radically altered by the Jacksonville Expressway Authority.  During the 1950s, many of its homes and businesses were demolished to make way for the street's conversion into one of Jacksonville's first expressways.  Today, additional construction is underway as more land has been taking to create space for a new expressway interchange at 21st Street.







Residential Character

Located adjacent to multiple railyards, industries and being a short distance from JAXPORT's Talleyrand Terminal, the community developed as and remains a working class neighborhood.  It's residential building stock is similar to the character of architecture found in Springfield and the Eastside.  The majority of the homes built before 1960 are bungalows and frame vernacular structures..  After the 1940s, concrete block homes were mostly built.






















Turning A New Leaf


Phoenix Avenue's Vak Pak Inc. is a designer and manufacturer of self-contained filtration and operating systems for swimming pools, spas, fountains and zoos. Several of its buildings date back to 1930 and were once a part of the Berea Baptist Church campus.

Many buildings throughout the community that appear to be abandoned like Vak Pak, actually have operating businesses in them.  This is one inner city Jacksonville community where the critical amenities of urban revitalization, such as operating businesses, public spaces and reusable building fabric still remain.  It's also one of Jacksonville's few communities where the main street still generates foot traffic. In addition, the neighborhood is centrally located with direct highway and rail access in close proximity of the port. With these things in mind, a stronger focus on revitalization within the greater context of the urban core could result in this neighborhood becoming one of Jacksonville's crown jewels.

Article by Ennis Davis























34 Comments

Noone

October 03, 2012, 03:15:01 AM
Another beautiful journey through Jacksonville history.

peestandingup

October 03, 2012, 04:37:22 AM
Yep. This area is great. I ride my bike through there sometimes & am always impressed by it. Don't get me wrong, its still shady in some places, but thats just because its underutilized. This, and down through the Philip Randolph neighborhoods, are actually my favorite in the entire urban core.

Plus, its one of the few downtown land adjacents that actually has plenty of housing stock left that hasn't been bulldozed or completely neglected. Its a real shame that these areas aren't flourishing right now.

Mathew1056

October 03, 2012, 06:17:43 AM
It's only a matter of time before this area is recognized by the general public as a desirable place to live. I think it will be a step by step process, though. The economy seems to be recovering and businesses are showing interest in downtown and Springfield. Once a healthy flow of capital begins coming back into these neighborhoods those looking to buy in the urban core market will begin to look for cheaper options. Then the gentrification process begins....

dougskiles

October 03, 2012, 06:21:22 AM
The magic of the phoenix is that it rises after each death.  Maybe there is hope!  Love the article.  I am going to swing through the neighborhood the next time I am in Springfield.

gedo3

October 03, 2012, 07:46:57 AM
I'm hopeful, too, that this Phoenix will rise.  And I am impressed by the quality and love shown in the homes in the neighborhood.  The people who live there obviously care!

GoldenEst82

October 03, 2012, 11:11:49 AM
I drive through this neighborhood twice a day, and I am so happy to see it highlighted. I have often looked at the area and thought, "I wish this could come back." I am very happy to see this neighborhood featured!

duvaldude08

October 03, 2012, 11:22:34 AM
The Good ole eastside. Have lots of family out there and spent alot of time out there as a child. Great to finally see the history of the area. Good stuff!

Tacachale

October 03, 2012, 01:09:08 PM
I've always thought the Eastside could be Jacksonville's next great urban revival neighborhood. It has the buildings and the vibe, all it needs is some momentum. Once that happens it could take off faster than Springfield.

thelakelander

October 03, 2012, 01:17:58 PM
Yes, the Eastside has some great bones to work with.  With that in mind, so does Durkeeville, New Springfield and Brentwood.  These communities are another reason I'm a big supporter of fixed rail transit and the S-Line.  It offers the opportunity to connect all of these communities together and with downtown, simultaneously spurring market rate redevelopment in downtown and all of them.

KuroiKetsunoHana

October 03, 2012, 02:53:24 PM
i lived there for a few years (duplex on 16th).  i loved it.  wonderfully quiet neighbourhood.  i think the only area i like more is where i live now <3

duvaldude08

October 03, 2012, 03:06:27 PM
The Eastside is also much safer than it was in the past. My grand parents stay off 21st and Buckman. It was alwasy referred to as the hood was very crime ridden. Nowadays, its actually very quiet. Everyone has mirgrated to the NW side and the eastside is pretty quiet and dormant now. Perfect time to bring it back to life!

BrooklynSouth

October 03, 2012, 04:39:40 PM
That park is perfect for kids. Wow. No traffic and surrounded by houses. In Chicago or New Jersey, having that kind of park in front of your house is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Great article. I'm very curious about "Eastside", which I've never heard anyone say before. I've heard Northside, Westside, and Southside, but never Eastside.

KuroiKetsunoHana

October 03, 2012, 05:01:32 PM
you ain't never been OutEast?

Tacachale

October 03, 2012, 05:08:44 PM
^Brooklyn, Eastside isn't a big section of Jacksonville like the Northside, Southside, or Westside (or Arlington), it's one neighborhood (or a group of a few neighborhoods, depending on how you look at it). It's also pretty impoverished and other than the industrial areas, which employ a lot of people, it doesn't have much that would necessarily bring people from other parts of town right now. Don't tell that to people from those parts, though; many of them consider their area to be equally as significant as the other "sides", and for good reason. East Jacksonville has phenomenal bones, great architecture, and a boatload of potential.

BackinJax05

October 03, 2012, 05:50:02 PM
Dont know when the Evergreen Filling Station opened, but when I was a kid it was a repair shop owned by the late Herbert Packham. My grandparents & parents took their cars there for service.

Before computers diagnosed car problems there was Mr. Packham. This guy was amazing - and honest! He could tell what was wrong with a car simply by leaning over the engine and listening to the idle. Mr. Packham retired several years ago, and died a couple of years ago.

I also remember a little farther down 8th street a Hardees, a post office, a Dixie Vim gas station, and a Pic N Save.

PHOENIX would be a perfect neighborhood to gentrify!

John P

October 03, 2012, 05:50:41 PM
forgive me but I dont see anything as a "treat" there. It is extremly low income with significant crime. think Springfield pre 1984 but without as much crack violence. It took Riverside the better part of three decades to be revitalized to where it is today. Springfield is only half way there and has another decade to go. Phoenix or eastside is 0% of the way there. Check back in 25 years and it may be somewhere worth living or it may be gone all together because property owners cant take care of their homes and theres no historic designation preventing them from being demolished.

thelakelander

October 03, 2012, 05:59:47 PM
The "treat" would be the historic amenities that make up an urban neighborhood still standing.  These include the gridded streets, it's centralized location, long time companies still in operation, the neighborhood park and its preserved historic building fabric.  It terms of stimulating revitalization, it has multiple things to work with.  Many older urban communities don't have as much.

KuroiKetsunoHana

October 03, 2012, 06:04:27 PM
BackinJax05, no.  let's not gentrify anything, thanks.  John P, really?  significant crime?  never heard ov a break-in or anything in the area the whole time i lived there, and the only time i heard gunshots was when some redneck neighbours (who left after a couple months) were shooting at some beer cans in their backyard.  what do you think makes a place worth living?

peestandingup

October 03, 2012, 06:22:27 PM
Lake is correct. Eastside is not nearly as bad as Springfield was back in the 80s. Plus, there's really not that many houses that are abandoned or look like they're ready to fall over/be demoed (something Spr is still struggling with today with a good chuck of their housing stock). Most of it looks to be quite livable if you're willing to accept it for what it is. Could it be better? Absolutely. But I def wouldn't give it a 0%.

But unfortunately John is right in saying that it could go either way. Things like this seem like they take forever here & are very flakey. If these neighborhoods were up north or out west somewhere, they'd be thriving. Most of it seems caused by the city's lack of vision & sitting on their hands.

Fixed transit would do wonders.

KuroiKetsunoHana

October 03, 2012, 06:24:54 PM
Fixed transit would do wonders.
i agree with that wholeheartedly, and i think it's true for pretty much the whole city.

BackinJax05

October 04, 2012, 04:23:11 PM
Thanx, Lake  ;D

A gentrified Phoenix would be treat! ;)

KuroiKetsunoHana

October 04, 2012, 06:09:49 PM
BackinJac05, define gentrify, please.  because either it means something very different to you than to me, or you're a terrible human beïng.  possibly both, but definitely one ov the two.

BackinJax05

October 17, 2012, 06:06:07 PM
BackinJac05, define gentrify, please.  because either it means something very different to you than to me, or you're a terrible human beïng.  possibly both, but definitely one ov the two.

Learn to spell, and maybe we can talk.  ;)

Tacachale

October 17, 2012, 08:28:34 PM
Lake is correct. Eastside is not nearly as bad as Springfield was back in the 80s. Plus, there's really not that many houses that are abandoned or look like they're ready to fall over/be demoed (something Spr is still struggling with today with a good chuck of their housing stock). Most of it looks to be quite livable if you're willing to accept it for what it is. Could it be better? Absolutely. But I def wouldn't give it a 0%.

But unfortunately John is right in saying that it could go either way. Things like this seem like they take forever here & are very flakey. If these neighborhoods were up north or out west somewhere, they'd be thriving. Most of it seems caused by the city's lack of vision & sitting on their hands.

Fixed transit would do wonders.

East Jacksonville in the 2010s (or 2020s) would have an easier go of revitalization than Springfield in the 1980s for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, because it's not the 1980s. Compared to the 1980s peak, drug-related crime, and in due course, violent crime in general, is down and continues to decrease. Second, so much of Springfield's revitalization has focused on the high end of the real estate. There's certainly nothing wrong with that, but Eastside structures wouldn't require nearly that level of investment; they're more like outer Riverside in that way. And third, in contrast to the 1980s, urbanism is established in Jacksonville. There are demonstrably more people with those interests now.

With a little momentum, I'm convinced this could be Jacksonville's next great urban neighborhood.

BackinJax05

October 18, 2012, 10:09:48 PM
^^ I agree. Everything is already in place in Phoenix.

John P

October 19, 2012, 10:37:09 AM
Go for it. You can rent a room by the night there for $10.

Tacachale

October 19, 2012, 11:07:09 AM
Or we could just whinge. That's productive.

Roger904

October 19, 2012, 11:20:04 AM
What's wrong with gentrification?

Ocklawaha

October 19, 2012, 12:06:58 PM
What's wrong with gentrification?

On the surface, nothing at all, but a bit deeper and the word (in some circles) has come to mean racial purification of a neighborhood. If that is the modern accepted definition then there is everything wrong with it.

KuroiKetsunoHana

October 19, 2012, 03:26:24 PM
not just racial--rising property values often mean that the poor who've lived there for decades (sometimes their whole lives) are made uncomfortable and sometimes no longer able to afford to stay there--'reclaiming' a ghetto often just means pushing people who have very few choices around.

peestandingup

October 19, 2012, 05:30:16 PM
not just racial--rising property values often mean that the poor who've lived there for decades (sometimes their whole lives) are made uncomfortable and sometimes no longer able to afford to stay there--'reclaiming' a ghetto often just means pushing people who have very few choices around.

How are they made "uncomfortable" by making the neighborhood better/safer? And wouldn't the increase in property values benefit those who have lived there longest the most?? I know that property taxes would go up too, but not THAT much.

I understand the sentiment some would have about it. The fact that white flight took place & American cities sorta corralled all the poor into the inner cities, these people made the best of it for decades, and now all of a sudden that's reversing. I get that.

But there is often another side to it. I know plenty of people who have moved into cities that were going through transition who experienced so-called "reverse racism" (myself included in my old neighborhood in DC). I can't tell you how many times I was leered at in a local eatery (as to say, "what are YOU doing here?"), had some backhanded compliment said, or was simply called a name on the street. That last one didn't happen often, but it did.

Like I said, I get that & am more forgiving of it considering the past, but its still nasty & uncalled for. It's straight up racism. And no one's guilty of anything besides liking a neighborhood & wanting to live in it. So a lot of the blowback for gentrification (or whatever we're calling neighborhood improvement these days) is simply racially charged IMO, which is unfortunate.

KuroiKetsunoHana

October 19, 2012, 05:40:07 PM
if it was all people who genuinely like the neighbourhood, that'd be one thing.  for some people it really seems to be some kind attempt to be edgy.  i've seen people who are clearly terrified ov the neighbourhood, but feel like they have to live here just to prove that they can--and ov course i'm hostile to that kind ov ridiculous posturing!  people want to move into my neighbourhood, change it to suit themselves, and they don't even like it!

as far as beïng made uncomfortable, 'safer' is subjective with the rather biased police response we have in this town, and you're damn right i'm not comfortable with people who make it very clear that they think i'm a lesser human beïng just because i'm poor.

there are a lot ov lovely people genuinely tryïng to improve things for everyöne(see:  preservation SOS), and i don't mean to disparage them at all.  but there are also a lot ov entitled-feeling little shits whose sole interest is bending a neighbourhood to their will (see:  SPAR, at least up until the last year or two).

(edited for clarity--i tend to ramble)

peestandingup

October 19, 2012, 06:32:31 PM
if it was all people who genuinely like the neighbourhood, that'd be one thing.  for some people it really seems to be some kind attempt to be edgy.  i've seen people who are clearly terrified ov the neighbourhood, but feel like they have to live here just to prove that they can--and ov course i'm hostile to that kind ov ridiculous posturing!  people want to move into my neighbourhood, change it to suit themselves, and they don't even like it!

as far as beïng made uncomfortable, 'safer' is subjective with the rather biased police response we have in this town, and you're damn right i'm not comfortable with people who make it very clear that they think i'm a lesser human beïng just because i'm poor.

there are a lot ov lovely people genuinely tryïng to improve things for everyöne(see:  preservation SOS), and i don't mean to disparage them at all.  but there are also a lot ov entitled-feeling little shits whose sole interest is bending a neighbourhood to their will (see:  SPAR, at least up until the last year or two).

(edited for clarity--i tend to ramble)

You bring up some good points & I agree. There are a lot of jackasses out there who do that for some reason. I think the bigger issue though is the chain reaction that it starts. Meaning there are a lot of people at first who do move into these neighborhoods because they like them. Sure, they would like to see improvements here & there, but who wouldn't?

But before you know it, corporate interests come along & really do a number on the place. I understand that some of that can be beneficial (like transit), but a lot of it isn't & ends up tearing apart what made the neighborhood cool in the first place (the truly local neighborhood vibe in an urban setting, no matter the makeup). That certainly happened with our old hood in DC. I haven't been back in a few years but my wife has. She said its a lot of chain stores, high end nightclubs, restaurants, etc. Ugh. Some of thats fine I guess & to be expected, but again, not if it takes so much away that it loses that local neighborhood vibe & brings the circus to town. That shit can take a hike.

So I think you & I (and most people who initially move in) are on the same page & fighting the same fight. It just sometimes gets skewed

Tacachale

October 19, 2012, 09:59:51 PM
There are a couple of things to keep in mind about gentrification. First and foremost, the term implies that a higher social class (the "gentry") takes over a neighborhood. This doesn't always mean immediate displacement of the lower class, however frequently it means that things (real estate, rent, retail, etc) gets more expensive.

This can be good for landowners who see their property values rise. At the same time, however, raised property values can lead to other expenses (such as higher property taxes) that make it untenable for someone with lower income and/or wealth to keep up. Additionally, in many of these neighborhoods a lot of the residents are renting. The property owners may not live in the neighborhood or even the city; higher values can be great for them, because they can just raise the rent to cover it, but the renters may be priced out of their own neighborhood. Displacement is the most glaring downside to gentrification.

Another thing to keep in mind is that, gentrification isn't uniform. The groups interested in the urban environment are as diverse as America itself. There's no one way it's done. And it doesn't happen in a time vacuum. It's not as if the Eastside, or any neighborhood anywhere, has never experienced change in its history.

Third, there are a lot of positives of gentrification that are often overlooked. On top of money, it can also bring diversity and a swath of people who really care about their neighborhood. So there are positives and negatives associated with it. In the case of the Eastside, such a thing could be looked at as less of a "change" and more of a return to the face of the neighborhood 50 years ago.
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