The prostitution and drug use is apparent. It’s a fact of life. When I leave for work in the morning, I’ll pass anywhere from one to ten of what I would deem prostitutes. Sullivant Avenue is the busiest for the street prostitution where they do the business in the cars with the dudes. I found used condoms in my alley behind my garage. Just a couple of those. I found a crack pipe on my front porch. Somebody had thrown it out of a car window. Presumably. I’m hoping they weren’t on my front porch.
If you drive down Sullivant Avenue, you can tell who’s hooked on heroin. They’re strung out, they’re skinny, they’re usually white, they’re usually our age, they’re usually under 30. They look like death. It is a rampant problem. The bigger problem is that law enforcement is not going to be able to fix it. It’s got to be fix on the treatment side. Whatever your politics are, law enforcement will tell you that they can’t arrest enough people or search enough homes to solve this.
I still remember the first night when we closed on a Thursday afternoon. We didn’t have the dogs yet. We decided we would go grab a mattress and sleep there our first night. It was just the two of us. It was just a mattress in the front room. I bought a butcher knife and a baseball bat from Wal-Mart. I’m very anti-gun. Given the neighborhood I live in, I certainly could justify it, but I believe it makes me less safe, not more safe. But it was like, if somebody comes through the door, what do I do? Megan and I have talked about that, so we bought a couple big cans of mace and we keep one by the bed. We talk about what it would look like if somebody came through the door, what would happen. The dog would probably wake us up, we wouldn’t know what was going on. I’m gonna grab this, you’re going to grab that. Saying it out loud is weird. Most people probably don’t have to do that.
East Franklinton, this part, used to be way worse than anything I’m describing over here. Over where I live. Then they came in and cleaned it up. This stuff doesn’t go away though. It just moves. So, a lot of it moved west of 315 and now they’re working on west of 315 and it’s moving up to the Hilltop, so the Hilltop has gotten really bad. Urban revitalization is a contentious subject. Call it gentrification, call it whatever, but a true mixed income neighborhood is really hard to come by. The Short North is not mixed income anymore, German Village is not mixed income, so how do you revitalize the neighborhood without pushing out the long-term residents? But at the same time, some of those residents need to leave, some of them are dealing heroin. That’s a tough question. Not everybody over there is great for the neighborhood and should stay. The other issue is that Franklinton is bearing an incredible burden serving the homeless and low-income people. It’s really not sustainable as a neighborhood, with how dependent it is on nonprofits for support. To me, there’s no fairness in that. Some of these people should be diffused out into the neighborhoods. Displaced on some level, but… I’m conflicted on that. The jury’s still out.