Monday, May 17, 2010

Curb Appeal

How do you build curb appeal when there is nothing seems to appeal to anyone on the block? Some cracked or uneven sidewalks, buildings that show their age, and the few patches of undeveloped land that tend to be dumping grounds for garbage and overgrown with weeds is what I see when I look around, but that's the worst I see.

I've done everything I could do within my means to make my place as appealing as possible, but as people not familiar with the neighborhood come through, the area always manages to scare them off. It isn't like they witness a crime scene or find themselves victims of any sort. They come to find an empty lot full of garbage, sidewalks needing some repair, and litter strewn here and there. Still, there is something that I can't seem to put my finger on. What is this unappealing trait that the neighborhood conveys?

The neighborhood needs help from everyone. I'm not putting this all on the property owners. The City doesn't exactly make it easy to make these repairs, with the fees and permits needed for just about anything that requires more than a paintbrush, in addition to Architectural Review Board approval for those within the historical district. If the landlord makes an effort to repair small things, perhaps the tenant will take a little pride in where they live and make a little effort on their part to keep things nice.

Looking out my "thermal pane windows with true divided lights", as specified by East End Historic District Design Guide, I see two extremely obvious, broken replacement windows across the street with tacky sheets blowing in the wind. Next door, I see they erected a chain link fence, even though when I was meeting with the Architectural Review Board about a fence, they specifically said "anything but chain link". I have come to ask myself why the City goes through the trouble to mandate these standards, or why I even bothered. Negativity seems to be far more contagious than a positive outlook and I find myself caring a little less each time I'm there. Still, I try to remain optimistic and hope something, somewhere will change for the better, and I'll keep trying to contribute to that better place in my own little ways.

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