I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I love my neighborhood! It simply is the best. I replied to an article in our neighborhood newspaper, The Advocator, last month. This month, much to my surprise, it was published. Here’s what I wrote:
A Note From Your Editor
Last month I wrote about my concerns about the loss of a sense of neighborliness in Inman Park. I only got one response, from Patty Murphy, but what a response it was. Rather than start a different conversation, I’d like to continue this one! Her e-mail, titled “You’ve Lost that Loving Feeling,” follows. You may not agree totally with everything she has to say, but it all needs to be said!
“I’ve been in a quandary for several years about writing what I’m about to write. This is in NO WAY directed at you. I’m merely responding to your article in the Advocator about being neighborly. I feel that a follow up to your article is in order. Call it insight from a relative newbie.
“I’ve discussed what I’m about to say to you at length with several IPNA board members (past and present and all are well respected in the neighborhood) but I’ve never gotten up the nerve to actually do this. Until now. Until your article. Until I finally think that this is the time. And I’m not angry. We all know that things written when angry are very seldom productive.
“In my opinion, the feeling of a loss of the neighborhood is a direct result of the desire to make things less about the neighbor- hood and all about self.
“People just aren’t nice to one another. I moved into the neighborhood in June of 2002. Immediately I loved it! Everything was great. Fast forward a few years and I wanted to start to get in- volved. I went to the IPNA meetings and took it all in. I went relatively religiously for about a year. Then one meeting (October of 2008) I was so insulted by an “old timer” that I haven’t bothered to go back. It’s not worth it. In my opinion, the “old timers” think it’s alright to belittle newcomers. It’s not a new phenomenon. There’s a reason that many new Inman Park residents go to meetings only once. Why would anyone bother to go if they are just going to be made to feel bad? Not to mention the “well, that’s the way we’ve done it for 35 years so we shouldn’t change it” attitude. New ideas are often frowned upon. Not always, but frequently. I get that many things are the way they are for a very good reason. That’s all fine and dandy but I was barely alive 35years ago and there is no need to re-hash neighborhood goings on from a time when I was in diapers.
“I get that we live in an historic area. It’s one of the many things I love about Inman Park. The NPU, and UDC and all the other “garbage” you have to go through to get a permit, license, whatever are a giant pain but WELL WORTH IT for the neighbor- hood. That’s part of what keeps our neighborhood beautiful. That’s what keeps residential spaces, well, residential spaces and not commercial. It keeps us in check in many areas.
“Then you have events like the ‘garden.’ What a nightmare. Seriously! All that fuss over a neighborhood garden. Crazy! I get that some people look right out on that space but it’s not theirs. Period. It’s a public space. End of story. And it gets stopped because it can be. Not very neighborly. Then there are the garden people that, initially, didn’t seem open to moving the garden location. They weren’t very neighborly either.
“Further illustrating the ‘loss of neighborhood feeling’ is the drama that is currently unfolding at the corner of Edgewood, Euclid and Druid Circle. A bare lot was purchased by a family. They want to build a home. Then the “old timers” chime in about the lot is just fine. Let’s leave it the way it is. Well, if you like it that way, BUY THE LOT AND DO NOTHING WITH IT. And
then the City is gotten involved so there’s a tree hearing. Not very neighborly.
“Then everyone chooses sides. No one is thinking about the good of the NEIGHBORHOOD. They think only of themselves. At the end of the day would a garden really hurt anyone? No. The people in question just don’t want to look at a garden. They don’t want their view to change. Would a family building a house really hurt anyone? No. Those opposed don’t want to deal with construc- tion. I get that it’s a pain, but it’s a temporary pain that will most likely result in a beautiful new home in Inman Park that will help increase everyone’s property values.
“Going back to the “old timers” I often feel like anyone attending a meeting that doesn’t own a single family home isn’t welcomed at the meetings. How quickly it is forgotten that many of us own our townhouses and condos. One should note that I pay property taxes, too. Furthermore the tax base for my complex is about four times greater than that of the three or four houses that could occupy the space yet I feel like my contributions are menial. And I shouldn’t! No one should!”
It is time for the residents of Inman Park to get back “That Loving Feeling” and re-discover our sense of being neighbors. Let’s keep talking!