Longfellow Park, 05-18-09

By robb, June 15, 2009 7:35 am

Nearly 20 adults and 20 youth at Longfellow Park took a few minutes to answer two questions about their community:  

What do you like about your neighborhood?

Walkable / Transit

  • Close to LRT, stores – very walkable.
  • LRT is nice and she uses it frequently, but they live too far away to walk to it so they usually drive to the Lake Street park and ride.
  • Walks to parks.
  • LRT is nice and she uses it frequently, but they live too far away to walk to it so they usually drive to the Lake Street park and ride.

Convenient Access to Retail and Services

  • West of Hiawatha (where the renter moved from) is louder, smaller housing, less to do, and no parks. That is why she moved her family to the east side, just next to the Park.
  • Things to do within walking distance.
  • Close to everything.
  • Everything walking distance and close.
  • Proximity to downtown, hospital, cafes, Resource Center of the Americas, Sea Salt Restaurant.
  • Close to stores – very walkable.

Access to Parks and Green Space

  • Plot in the community garden. It is a great resource because their yard is too shaded to grow very much. There are opportunities to meet others.
  • Go to park with friends.
  • Paths.
  • Parks in the neighborhood.
  • Parks in the community. Unlike the suburbs, people are comfortable being around families at the park.
  • Kids can play in the parks close to home.
  • Parks and that kids can be out to play together.
  • Proximity to river and lakes.

Activities in Community

  • Playing basketball at rec center.
  • Access to open gym.
  • Access to parks and programs for kids.
  • Community center is a great place for teens to hang out. Good that they added the lounge area.
  • Excited about open computer lab.
  • Park and rec sports and thinks that the activities are mostly limited to the summer.
  • Programs for kids.
  • Cultural activities.
  • Activities for kids offered thought City/school. His kids are in the after school programs at Hiawatha and they take advantage of movie nights and summer school classes. It is the best value for the money.

Sense of Community

  • Everyone looks out for each other.
  • Know everybody in the neighborhood.
  • Neighborhood is great for kids.
  • There were gangs hanging out in the park in previous years, but the neighbors kept watch and called the police. Think that the involvement made a big difference.
  • Her house, playing in her yard.
  • Peaceful around here – no gunshots.
  • Pretty safe in some areas for youth to walk around.
  • Quiet.
  • Area is quiet and safe, there aren’t ambulances responding (to) gunfire.
  • Neighborhood is safe, or at least appears safe. Police visibility is a great thing.
  • Friendly – good place to be – lots of friends who are helpful.
  • Lots of youth live close-by.
  • Open-minded, politically-active people.
  • Good sense of community.
  • It’s a great place.
  • My friends who give me strawberries from her garden.
  • Neighborhood is great for kids.

What would make your community better?

Improved Mobility

  • Able to walk across Hiawatha.
  • Slower traffic on east-west streets.
  • Traffic calming measures like roundabout, paint the pavement, greenways like the new one planned for 42nd.
  • More walkable – more small shops, grocery stores, convenience stores, and a post office – similar to her neighborhood in Chicago.
  • Bus to go straight down 36th Avenue South, not zig zagging like the current route does.
  • Able to bike across Hiawatha.
  • More bike paths.

Housing and Development

  • In empty schools, don’t put big, gigantic development.
  • More kids.
  • More affordable single family housing.
  • Disappointed that the neighborhood voted down the low income housing proposal for the vacant lot near the (Longfellow) park. A small 4-6 unit building run by the City would have been great and would have been better than an empty lot.

More Retail Shops

  • Neighborhood bike and organic food options – like coop.
  • More restaurants and coffee shops.
  • More walkable – more small shops, grocery stores, convenience stores, and a post office – similar to her neighborhood in Chicago.
  • More small corner shops have their pros and cons. More shops would create more traffic, but would be convenient.
  • The area lacks black-owned shops.

More Parks and Green Space

  • More bike paths and skate paths.
  • Bigger basketball space at rec center – indoor and outdoor full court.
  • Regular (not wading) pools.
  • Invest in parks.
  • Safe green space for kids to play.
  • More parks.
  • More flowers.

More Activities / Sense of Community

  • More structured, affordable activities for kids, especially in the summer.
  • More places to hang out.
  • More activities for middle and high school kids. More organized activities and at different times so we can do more than one.
  • More places for youth to hang out.
  • Supervised after-school programs for school-age kids at rec center.
  • Rec center open even when a small number of kids misbehave – not fair.
  • More places to play with my friends.
  • More activities for teens – sports – both open and teams – evenings and weekends.
  • Rec centers open on weekend.
  • Open gym on weekends.
  • Community activities that bring people together in the winter – that don’t cost money that families don’t have – heated pavilions where people can meet and come together.
  • More good programs for kids – gives it a good neighborhood feel.
  • Come together as a community – work together – keep our community clean.
  • People who live here have to put our own work into making it better – not only government, especially in this economy – work as a community.
  • The neighborhood lacks neighborhood activities like national night out. Neighbors would like to know one another better.
  • More positive things in community – park activities, parades – keeps kids doing positive things and out of trouble.

Improved Safety

  • Stop gang violence.
  • There has been tagging problems and broken bus shelter windows – the bus shelter was eventually removed.
  • Some of the problems (broken bus shelter, etc) may come from the teens that come from other areas to this (Longfellow) park, but doesn’t know for sure. Don’t want to discourage kids from using the facility, but need better enforcement.
  • Better law enforcement to catch people doing bad stuff.
  • More security cameras to prevent tagging.
  • More police to stop violence, crime, especially theft.
  • Less violence – fewer gangs.
  • Less crime.
  • Safer – fewer home and garage break-ins.
  • Less crime/bike theft at parks – even when locked up.
  • Less litter.
  • Kids are noisy at the bus stop when they leave the community center.

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