Monday, March 19, 2012

Nothing but flowers

I took this picture Wednesday in the lush mini-park off the corner of 24th and Minnesota Streets in Dogpatch, just north of the northbound Highway 280 onramp. A decade ago or a bit more, this raised area in the Minnesota St. right-of-way was a small wilderness of gravel and wild fennel plants. Three people and their dogs lived there, respectively in a container, a bread truck and an RV. Plus sometimes guests/subtenants stayed there too. (I did volunteer legal work for one of the residents & got to know the others a bit.) The vehicles were towed/wrecked ages ago and those were not happy days when that happened.

And then this mini-park went in.

I keep trying to decide how to feel about the change now. I mean, it's public land so why shouldn't it be a nice place everyone can enjoy? On the other hand, lost housing, and the way the people got removed wasn't nice. (Or rather, they did make sure the oldest of the three residents got right into subsidized housing, but some of the rest of the removal process wasn't happy.) Except, on the third hand, why shouldn't industrial neighborhoods have pretty parks too?

The thing is, it really is a good little park. This picture doesn't do justice because it was raining. The other day I went off against gentrification in Dogpatch but it's possible to like some of the changes as a separate matter from saying they were "worth" their cost in roustings and sad related disruption. What would "worth" mean anyway, and according to whom?

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