Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Hood Improvements II: the Saga of Raw Sewage, Copperheads and Neighborhood Vigilantes Begins

Above is my result from combing the community gardens of Charlotte for inspiration for this garden proposal in the Duke powerline right of way in Enderly Park.

Enderly Park, incidentally, is adjacent to my neighborhood, Camp Greene, and my house actually backs up to this same right of way.

Last night the City and we the consultants presented the Enderly Park Neighborhood Improvement Project concepts to the Enderly Park neighborhood. About 14 or so people showed up...not as much as last time, but some colorful neighborhood busybodies made the night memorable.

Among the very interesting new tidbits of info I gleaned about my sister hood from a cantankerous local:

1) Enderly Park has more than one raw sewage problem area. Aside from ageing infrastructure (which we are partly replacing), part of the reason for this is that some of the houses are actually built on top of the old Camp Greene landfill from Camp Greene's WWI Army Base days, creating unstable soil conditions and leading to collapsed pipes. (Interestingly, the POW barracks that held German POW's was located across the street from the dump).

2) The copperhead infestation on Maury St. between Enderly and Coker Ave. (Enderly Park speculators make a mental note). Apparently, they can be found in a drainage swale in the interior of the upper block by the dozens. Of course, everybody suspects the root cause of the infestation is the man who lives about two doors down from the problem site who keeps a about similar number of pet rattlesnakes (he milks their venom). Kind of a case of association by viper.

3) Why is the park of Enderly Park so desolate? For a neighborhood where, well, lets just say pretty much every other spot is a loiterer's delight, you'd think the park would be worn-down pedestrian staple. I thought it was the hornets in the grassland of the Duke right of way (I encountered them trying to unsuccessfully photograph that end of Coker one day)...but it turns out the lady with all the cats at the end of Coker, whose house overlooks the isolated end of the park, actually has a reputation for scaring loiterers away by shooting at them!

He, he...a day in the life of hood-improving (if I tried, could I make any this up?). =D

Monday, October 29, 2007

Drive By Shooting

I spent yesterday morning driving around the neighborhoods of Charlotte visiting every community garden I could find. In the process, I finally drove through some neighborhoods I've always passed by (in auto or running). Charlotte truly has some splendid and idyllic neighborhoods. Above is a church I slammed my breaks at on my way back from the Midwood Park Community Garden. This is at Kilgo Methodist Church on Belvedere Ave, and who'd a thought a "pumpkin patch" existed here?

Funny how much is so near around us, and yet beyond our radar...I lived a year and a half in the Plaza-Midwood area and never was aware these majestic churches were tucked in the neighborhood! I'll make sure I vary my running routes from now on.

Meejin Yoon's Project (MIT prof) on BLDGBLOG

BLDGBLOG noted Meejin's Olympic installation White Noise / White Light today. Fun, fun...I remember my classmates went to Athens to help her out with the installation.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Fare Free and Care Free

Whidby Island, WA, originally uploaded by islandlifer.

John Grooms has written the lucid article in Creative Loafing we've all been needed to read about the effort to repeal the transit tax here in Charlotte:

Needed: A Transit Tax 'Surge'

I heartily agree that the thing the pro-transit folk have been needed to say all along - instead of "fighting rear-guard battles" with the skulky and brainless "No More Trains" people - is to preach the vision for transit, and, preach it more brazenly brothas and sistas...Why stop at a measly half-cent, by God? Why not have the balls and vision to even go as far as suggesting we can make it a fare-free system (such as the fare free transit zone on Whidby Island - ingenious for eco-friendliness as well as tourism and economic generation, btw).

Thank you John Grooms!


Relaxing, originally uploaded by SKB1963.

Today is the first day of autumn in Charlotte, as far as I am concerned. Of course, it makes me wistful...for the hours of sunlight we're losing. In a way, this concentrates my gaze on the end of December when we will reverse the course towards darkness.

I love pulling out my jacket out of the closet and feeling the pockets, looking for evidence when I last wore it. I pulled out a sheet of notes from the Wild at Heart conference in the 8,000 foot heights of the Rockies , when I trekked to the environs of Denver (what a greenway system they have there, btw!). It was not that long ago after all in August...Brings back the memory of pines and clear air, which we are fortunate to have in Charlotte today after our three days of rain (thank you Abba). I suspect we'll have a perfect afternoon for sunning ourselves in the cafe terraces.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

"Twittering while California Burns"

IMG_2761, originally uploaded by jrzedevl.

The power of social networking in times of disaster:

Twittering While California Burns

Hood Improvements

Images by Neighboring Concepts

Enderly Park (in West Charlotte) gets a facelift. Slides from the Enderly Park NIP proposal: linear park with a community garden, interconnected sidewalk system, road resurfacing, and extensive storm sewer improvements. Simple things really count!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Dinosaur Bridge

Dinosaur Bridge, originally uploaded by sftrajan.

Abba...thank you for the week and sustaining me through three straight weeks of public forums. Bless the Comprehensive Park and Recreation Master Plan recommendations and bless Mecklenburg County's recreational spaces. May we draw inspiration from projects such as these.

Bless this blog Abba.