Collin found out about the Franklin Development Association. He made lots of calls, bugged the crap out of Jim Sweeney. And they were building these two houses, and Collin said, “I’ve been driving around, looking at this neighborhood. I really wanna move there. Let’s go look at this house.” So we walked through the house, and we met our neighbors and talked with them. And we happened to meet the lady who lives on the other side. Collin did the research on what it would take to put down a down payment, and what our mortgage would be. And when he brought the mortgage to me, it was like… We can’t not do it.
I became really interested in the area because of the different social issues, from the perspective of social justice. Collin has always been attracted to the revitalization of it. We argue about it. There’s a part of me that’s resistant to the gentrification, because I think that there are good people in this neighborhood that are going to get kicked out when their landlords raise the rents. Collin looks at it from the perspective that people like the guys in this house behind us, who are running drugs, they’re going to get moved out. It’s an ongoing debate.
I was really skeptical. What I knew of Franklinton and the Hilltop was that it was a really bad neighborhood and that it was pretty dangerous. The mortgage helped sell it to me, but also driving here. Because people sat out on their porches, and people waved at us when we drove by. It felt so much more like a community here than I ever felt living in Arlington or living in Clintonville. And I like that feeling. But the debate still is ongoing, even though we’ve been here for two years.
I really imagined that it was going to look more like Milo-Grogin. I was pleasantly surprised that it didn’t feel as threatening. In Milo there’s a lot of overgrowth, a lot of vacancy, which there is to an extent in Franklinton. Different groups have done a good job of reducing the vacancy. But Milo-Grogin just feels so hollow. You’ll see houses that are half-burned down and falling over. The lots are filled with tires and car-parts. And you’ll see that in Franklinton.
But, depending on where you are in Franklinton it can feel very different. North of Broad St. and south of Sullivant are completely different worlds. Sullivant feels like Franklinton the most because that’s the biggest stretch with prostitution. On days that are nicer like this it feels less like Franklinton. It’s pretty out, and people are outside, and things look nicer when it’s sunny out.
Christmas Eve, we went to Collin’s mom’s house for Christmas. And we came home that night to our street covered in police officers because someone had shot the shit out of our neighbor’s house, the front of their house. We’re fairly certain it’s the house behind us, that they were making a statement, because these guys, our neighbors have no problem standing up to the drug guys. So we came home and… shell casings all over the street. Just like something out of a crime drama.
And nobody said anything to us, like, “You need to move right now,” or “You’re staying with us,” or “We’re putting you in a hotel.” They just let us make our own decision, which was, obviously, to stay. As time has gone, I think their worries have decreased.
The first thing I felt was anger. I was really, really angry with whoever shot my neighbor’s house and whoever ordered them to shoot it up; because I had felt so safe and secure here for two years and I wanted this to be our home. We talked about it, about, “Do we move?” Ultimately it came down to… no, we’re fairly certain that was one isolated incident, that provided we don’t make a stink about “them” we’ll be fine.
Shocked. The me of two years ago would have been... I think when we moved to Franklinton we even had a conversation that was something like - if our house got shot, we’d move, we’d be done. So, yeah, a lot has changed in two years.