August 28, 2006
Part of a fence that some say did nothing but divide the community has now been torn down. The fence that has separated part of the 10th and Page neighborhood from the Venable neighborhood for years now has an opening. For the first time kids from 10th and Page will now have direct access to a nearby park.
"It's wonderful that they're going to open [the fence] now so the traffic--especially the foot traffic--can walk through," said former resident Lewis Mason.
The Hope Foundation, owners of the property, pushed for the opening of the fence, since realizing that the only entrance was on the Venable side. Kids living in the 10th and Page area usually had to climb over the fence to get to the field or to Venable Elementary. Sometimes they walked all the way around the block.
"We have to go over [the fence] because we live behind the school, and my brother goes there, and we go for soccer," explained young resident Kate Coleman.
The foundation's director said it will mean a lot to the kids that live in the 10th and Page neighborhood.
"I think it's more important symbolically that these children will be able to feel that they have dignity. That hope is extended to them. That they're important and that they have the same right and access as other people to the city parks," said Harold Bare.
This move comes in conjunction with a new community center, which is built right in front of the fence. The Hope Community Center is an expansion of the original center, which sits right across from the new building. That new center will have a computer lab, drug and financial counseling and a list of other classes and services.
"I'm pretty excited about that because it's nice to know that we don't have to [climb over the fence], because also to get across there we had to get through [other obstacles], and so it's really good to know we can just walk up the street to get there," said 11-year-old resident, Kate Coleman.
Even former residents like Mason, shared in the excitement. "This is a wonderful thing that's happening now, because now you don't have to go up all the way around the block. You can walk up right through," he said.
The Hope Community Center is set to open up sometime this week.