Just about everyone knows now that Campus Partners bought the D & J Carryout on Fourth and Eighth. Now neighborhood speculation centers on what’s it going to be next. Since Campus Partners is going to sell the building to Community Properties of Ohio, the manager of the majority of Weinland Park’s Section 8 property speculation is skewed towards to the non-profit, social services side of the equation. Ideas, with no particular basis in fact so far, include CPO office space and a drop-in center. And while your local blogger is familiar with dropping out what one does after dropping in continues to be  a puzzle..

word cloudWhat do we want?

Let’s back up for some background. Part of the stated premise of making a  mixed income neighborhood, the experiment currently underway in Weinland Park, is to mix people from disparate social, racial, and economic backgrounds into a neighborhood that helps everyone not only understand each other but eventually foster the social relations that boost people out of poverty.

apartment fire 4 and 8

Just neighbors getting together and chatting

Currently, the place to meet the widest variety of neighbors and have an actual conversation with people unlike yourself is a neighborhood disaster such as a major fire or a barricade situation. People can compare notes, talk about what’s going on in the neighborhood etc. in a candid manner in a  non-institutional environment. It’s difficult for middle-class white residents to hang out at the  corner store because you’re immediately a fingered as undercover. African American residents can meet middle-class whites by attending one of the innumerable meetings held in Weinland Park.  But eating  what the Weinland Park elders refer to as “bird seed and Styrofoam,”  actually quinoa in real life, and watching middle-aged white guys come unglued only draws a crowd for so long and is of limited interest.

DSCN6108

Coffee, patio, baby formula, craft beer, hair weaves.

So, why not make a place where everyone in the neighborhood can gather.  Many residents probably miss their corner store while many other residents would like a coffee shop or other retail establishment. So, why not combine the two concepts into a real live bodega that caters to the entire neighborhood. It’s not crazy to think, unless you don’t live in Weinland Park, that one could buy decent coffee and sit on the patio chatting with all your neighbors in front of the new D & J. A store that combined fresh food options with the requisite chips because who doesn’t need a bag of chips on occasion. A place to buy baby formula at non-predatory prices. A place that provides jobs for neighborhood kids and maybe even sells penny candy. Imagine a place that catered to the entire neighborhood and not just a segment. It only seems crazy to have a place that carries craft beer and hair weaves if you don’t live here. If you do, it makes perfect sense.

 

Advertisements