A couple theories paying dividends on one city block

The ultimate test of a theory is how it works in real life circumstances.

City Council approved use of $1,500 in legislative contingency funding in 2015 for a peace pole in the 600 block of Second Street.

The hope was that the peace pole would be a catalyst for the neighborhood to see reform.

Three years later, Mary Woods, of the Beloved Community Council, issued a glowing report on the results for City Council.

She told council the pole has been a symbol of reform in the formerly drug-infested block, which she said is seeing a revival. The neighborhood now has a vegetable garden and more children can be seen playing in the street unafraid.

Since installation of the pole, the one-block area has seen a drop in the amount of drug-related and violent crimes, she said.

Her information was acknowledged by Joseph Gerardi, city codes administrator. He said simultaneous with the pole installation, police Capt. Jody Miller and other officers and codes personnel engaged in a series of rental inspections that helped clear out unwanted individuals.

He said some of those individuals fled during inspections and were apprehended on the spot by police.

A resident said the changes have been especially helpful to families with children, who need to see improved living standards to give them hope that their future will be better and positive changes are happening.

So a small investment by the city in an area in need created a symbol, which created incentive for a community vegetable garden. And the codes inspections improved housing and forced out a crime element.

It’s just one block. And a cynic would suggest the negatives just moved to another block. But we don’t know that. And the momentum for improvement inevitably starts modestly. What we know is things are improving in the 600 block of Second Street. The future will prove how credible the change is. But the present is definitely better than the past.

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