the brownfield of my contentment What does it look like where you are?: the brownfield of my contentment

By droopy on Wednesday, July 20, 2005 - 01:15 pm:

    all that "new neighbor" stuff had me trying to explore the history of the neighborhood i live in. up until 6 years ago, when my apartment complex was built, nobody really knew this part of town even existed. well, not the white people. while searching around, i found a state site about "brownfield redevelopment" - turning contaminated land into usable property. apparently this has been a program for years, but they're keeping it sort of under the table. suddenly i can't reach the web page. but i did manage to save the entry for my apartments:

    "The Hillside Apartments on the east side of downtown are also a great achievement in brownfields redevelopment. Although the community was built on a site that was formerly a residential site (circa 1930s), there was contamination. Hydrocarbons had migrated to the land; a creek running through the area had been used for years as a dump; and the lead-based paint that had been used on the houses had peeled off and contaminated the soil. The property was cleaned up, and 172 rental units were constructed."

By heather on Wednesday, July 20, 2005 - 02:10 pm:

    i wonder about that a lot

    particularly on the edges of large cities where bad shit went
    down, like where i live

    part of me doesn't want to look into it and be horrified and
    another part of me thinks that if there was anything really bad
    there would be no way of finding out

By Antigone on Wednesday, July 20, 2005 - 02:36 pm:

    Sure there is. Get environmental testing kits and check out the soil yourself.

By droopy on Wednesday, July 20, 2005 - 02:52 pm:

By Antigone on Wednesday, July 20, 2005 - 03:39 pm:

    You're that close to the city center, eh? Were you there when the tornado hit?

By patrick on Wednesday, July 20, 2005 - 04:04 pm:

    Id like to know how that visitor center "blends" with existing historic architecture.

By droopy on Wednesday, July 20, 2005 - 09:17 pm:

    there are three old buildings in the middle of the apartment complex. a walking tour:

    the picture of hillside looking down the street is 4th st facing west. to your left (north) is harding. walk up one block to 3rd and cross the street and you're in front of great saint james baptist church. (the building you see behind the church on the left is the building in the 4th st picture.) walk west down third street and you come to crump, where morning chapel c.m.e. church is. walk up to about where that car is in the picture, and that's where the picture of the "visitor center" was taken. cross the street to the v.c., walk up to the corner of 2nd and crump, and there across the street from the v.c. is the knights of pythias hall.

    apparently they match because of the reddish brown brick.

    i can't believe you forgot my thrilling account of the tornado.

    and, of course, there's the assault. but that's on another thread.

By Antigone on Wednesday, July 20, 2005 - 09:41 pm:

    Hey, d00d, that was five years ago. I'm an old man. :)

By droopy on Thursday, July 21, 2005 - 02:07 am:

    actually, i prefer people forget more about me than they remember.

By dave. on Thursday, July 21, 2005 - 02:21 am:

    me too.

By droopy on Thursday, August 3, 2006 - 12:37 am:

    met a guy today at the bus stop at 3rd and harding, where i catch the bus to work from my apartment complex. he was a black guy, around 60; his right eye was always closed and his left was only half opened and the pupil was milky colored. he was sitting under the little pecan tree for shade. he had 3 sacks of groceries with him. there's no grocery store nearby, as far as i know.

    we started talking and he asked me how i liked living here. i said it was fine.

    "i used to live here. right up there by the church."

    "which one, up this way?"

    "yeah, 2nd and harding. lived there 54 years. grew up there. then they bought the whole place up. we all had to move...over to riverside."

    "over where the chemical plant blew up last year?"

    "close to it."

    "i remember a few people from the old neighborhood still living here when i moved in."

    "a couple, older folks they new wouldn't be here much longer anyway."


    "i miss living here. it was good to live close to the city, all the sounds from the city and the highway..."

    "and the trains."

    "the trains, yeah. you get used to him."

    "before i moved here i lived by a train track. and a steel yard. the trains would come in at 3a.m. to pick up a shipment of steel. i would listen to the the loading the boxcars - clank! clank! it gets inside of you. when you're away from it you feel a little lonely"

    "yeah, yeah. this used to be such a great place to live. i'm sure it is now, don't get me wrong. but it's changed so much. like back there [points east to where another new apartment building has gone up], none of that was there back in the old back in the 70's. that was all clubs and bars, all down 4th street; that was the happenin' place where everybody went."

    i remember hearing stories about 4th street and a district of fort worth called "rock island bottom", which was once sort of the harlem of fort worth.

    "and up the street there, up third by the bridge, there used to be a club there owned by a woman named narvella[?]. she ran the place and sang. she put out a couple albums back in the 50s. boy, could she sing...shake the walls with her voice. i just can't believe there ain't nuthin' there now."

    "there was really a lot of life here."

    "yeah, a lotta life. you look at this place now, and you wouldn't know anybody even lived here. back in my time people would be sitting on there front porches, standing on the sidewalks talking and visiting. now everybody shuts themselves up in their houses. and the trees...they cut down the big trees that grew by side of the road. they curled over the street, the branches did, like an archway or something."

    "there's a tree in front of my apartment that i've been watching grow since it was sapling. it's only now starting to look like a tree. this place hasn't had a chance to become any kind of a neighborhood. it's only been here 6 or 7 years, and most of the people who do live here don't stay very long. i've had a string of next door neighbors since i moved in here"

    "is it expensive to live here?"

    "no, not like those lofts in the heart of downtown that rent $1800. i live here cheap because i'm in a wheelchair - tax deferred."

    "i'm legally blind, will that work?"

    "you can try."

    just then the bus came. we didn't talk on the bus ride to the transfer station.

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