Friday, February 10, 2006

A New Way

It was on the way home, via a short cut from the 4300 hundred block of West Florissant, south on Prairie Avenue, across Fairground Park, continuing south to Dr. MLK, and then west a few blocks to catch up with the Metropolis Walk in the Ville.

Driving down Prairie, I rode by three other inviting looking night spots in the Fairground neighborhood. Maybe on a another night the Walk visits Fairground? Maybe. Thanks to Brian Marston for organizing the Ville Walk. It was a good time with a lot of fun people.

After visiting the Walk, I made another detour off the main routes, and headed straight south, down either Whittier or Sarah...I think Whittier (I couldn't tell; some of the street signs were missing). Somewhere around the corner of Washington and Whittier (or Sarah?), I arrived at a beautiful white stone church with a huge monolithic-shaped bell tower. I can't remember ever having noticed it before. A couple more blocks south, I would arrive in the heart of the new Gaslight Square development, situated along the northern edge of the Central West End neighborhood.

Prior to the Walk, the evening started out with a conversation with some Third Ward neighbors, including one long-time resident of the Fairground neighborhood. He's in his mid-80s now, but he remembers back as a young father, back in 1969, when his was the second black family to move on to his block in Fairground. Through the years, he's witnessed firsthand the long drought of disinvestment that blighted his community.

All along, he's remained active working as a volunteer to serve his neighborhood. Those years of work are starting to show a return. Today he sees more investment in the city's Third Ward than he's seen in the previous thirty-plus years. The drought years had seriously worn on his patience, and there's still a level of frustration, but now there's a new beginning too.


Joe said...

Most of us forget that the city north of Natural Bridge was still mostly white in the early 1970s. That makes the context of the Liddell deseg case very different from today; or indeed, different from 1980, by which time most of that northern third of the city had become predominantly African-American.

My wife's grandma stayed on Arlington in Walnut Park until 1992 or so, and experienced many problems and unfortunate incidents. Sadly, many of her grandkids now live way out in the boonies, and are scared to death of coming into the city.

Anonymous said...

the walk has been to the fairgrounds park area at least twice.