Commercial blight update

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DSCN0971Seventh Ward Councilman Eddie Colbert gave us the latest on Austin Village Plaza this week. The plaza owners now have a contract in place with M&M to complete the demolition, and the target date is January 15, 2015. M&M has done many of the residential demolitions done in Warren over the past few years and is a much more professional operation than the previous crew that was pecking away at AVP. We expect to see the property cleared soon.

Temporary fencing went up around the Dana Street GE property this week (above) so we are expecting to see the building coming down soon. We’ve asked for a confirmation from GE but don’t expect one; after initially being very cooperative with us they stopped communicating more than a month ago, so that’s all we know.

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A vested interest

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“My family has been here for three generations — my son is the fourth. My crew and I have been friends since we were six; most of their families have been here as long. Our aunts, uncles and cousins ran together, and now we have kids and we’re setting them up to be friends. Those are deep roots, and roots give you a vested interest in your community. I chose to stay. I like the heart of Warren.”

“I’d change the general attitude so that more people aspired to be more. Don’t accept the status quo just because that’s how we’ve always done it here.  Aspiration leads to inspiration because it is infectious.”

“That fight at Harding today was a good example. If someone had aspired to be a peace maker, and taken charge, maybe we’d recognize and reward the peacemaker instead of the tough guy.”

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Attitude adjustment

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“Living downtown has such a big city buzz — theres’s art and music and young people everywhere — without, for the most part, the big city problems. And all of it is in walking distance. We have so many amazing cool people burning with a fire to create everything — beer, art, music and more.”

“I’d like to see more done about the blight —  more art and culture applied everywhere to everything; especially the visual arts. It would make everything better. Even the kids riding on the school bus would notice it and feel better.”

“What could change life in Warren in one day? If the whole city had an attitude adjustment and  focused on all the good stuff happening, instead of the negative, it would change everything.”

“I don’t want to be a product of my environment. I want my environment to be a product of me.” DSCN0963

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Gorgeous natural assets

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“Warren has such gorgeous natural assets — Courthouse Square, Millionaire’s Row, Perkins and Packard Parks, the Amphitheater — which would be the envy of any community. And we are so close to Cleveland and Pittsburgh and their big-city attractions. It’s great having access to so much only an hour away. How many places in the country can say they have that?”

“We are not the only city with this problem, but I wish we could find a solution to the drug problem. I mention it first because a solution would solve so many other local problems; drugs drive a lot of secondary problems like crime, troubles in the schools, the difficulties employers have finding qualified people to hire and the general economic climate. Drugs are the root cause of many of these things and we aren’t doing much about it.”

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A gritty badge of honor

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“I’ve lived here all my life. How do you describe a place you love, when it’s home, and it is as much a part of you as you are a part of it? I can say it’s a badge of honor to be from a gritty, chip-on-your-shoulder, kind of place like Warren.”

“I drive my car now down streets I rode my bike on as a kid. How do you value that? I see those neighborhoods now the way I remembered them back in the day. It’s impressive to me that so many people still take pride in the way their homes and yards look. We haven’t given up here. But I’d like to see the neighborhoods be neighborhoods again. I’d like to see more people out and about or sitting on their porches visiting with their neighbors — but people are either too busy or too afraid. I hope that changes.”

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