Friday, June 03, 2005

Citizen Journalists

We know that the N-S staff has been stretched kind of thin, but were unaware that they were now relying on their readers to cover the neighborhood beat. From a Letter to the Editor:
I would like to add to what Daniel Austin said about the Northside neighborhood in his May 27 letter.

I grew up in the Northside neighborhood near Lakeside Park and have watched it go from a nice middle-class neighborhood, where it was OK to let your kids go to the park by themselves, to some place where I am afraid to walk my daughter to the park by myself in the middle of the afternoon.

I didn’t really notice how bad the neighborhood had gotten until I moved to Chicago a couple of years ago, and then, due to a job loss, had to come back. Seeing the place with fresh eyes finally made me see why some friends and co-workers didn’t want to come to our home for fear of the neighborhood.

The gunshots are no longer coming from over the bridge; they are coming from around the corner. We have a lot of drug use going on out in the open. I have found hypodermic needles at the edge of our front yard, and my brother has found spoons and needles by the pond at Lakeside Park. There are loose dogs all around, and teens on BMX bikes harass you in the park in the middle of the afternoon. People have sex in parked cars on the side streets and in Lakeside Park (again, during the day), and leave their used condoms lying around. Not to mention all of the trash that lines the streets and the park and the graffiti that is starting to pop up all over.

I don’t want my daughter to grow up in this mess of a neighborhood. My family and I try our best to report problems when we see them and to pick up trash and maintain our properties. But it would be nice if the city and the police department would start doing their job and give us some help. Unfortunately, I don’t think that is going to happen anytime soon. Our neighborhood isn’t wealthy enough to have any pull at the mayor’s office.

Shenoah White

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