Greenmount Avenue faces uncertain times
The shooting call on Greenmount Avenue came out just as kids in costume were hitting the streets on Halloween night. At first, we feared the worst. The victim wasn't out trick or treating, however, but was a retired bus driver caught in a robbery at Yau Brothers in Waverly.
The fourth fatal shooting in the tiny carryout since 2009.
For some merchants trying to turn Greenmount around East 33rd Street into something more upscale than a worn and tattered commercial strip, this latest killing might be the final blow. The owner of Darker Than Blue Cafe is threatening to leave, complaining the city has given up.
But other store and restaurant owners aren't so sure the strip is a lost cause. The city police focused on the area last year, after a security guard for the Afro-American was gunned down in Yau Brothers during another robbery. While proprietors question the city's last commitment, they say want to stay and give it a try.
Greenmount Avenue and East 33rd are crossroads for a diverse community, where Waverly meets Oakenshawe meets Charles Village. There's a widely popular farmers market on Saturdays, the YMCA with ballfields around the corner, an expensive restaurant fusing live jazz with food and an active merchant's association.
There's also places like Yau Brothers that according to one city councilwoman, "attracts homicides." Read the full story here, including video of latest shooting. Some quotes representing divergent viewpoints of the Greenmount Avenue strip:
"Crime was a major issue, and no matter how much we screamed, nobody listened. The city has really let certain neighborhoods go, and this is one of those neighborhoods. ... My discontent is with the city. There is no focus on growth in this area. We thought we had progressive growth here, but the city isn't buying into it."
David Stahl, owner of Pete's Grille:
"I think [police are] overwhelmed. We actually had foot patrols. I felt the city was on top of it and we were safer. But after a number of months, those additional resources vanished and we were left fending for ourselves. I worry about the perception that this area is crime-ridden. We draw from the counties, from Hopkins, from out of state. They're not going to come here at some point."
Ricky Herman, owner of Herman's Discount:
"We're an up-and-coming neighborhood looking to flourish and get away from the negative press and the negative attention. Those of us who are really part of the community, who are really committed, are staying. I'm staying no matter what. ... We're all financially challenged. People just don't have money. But I don't think people are saying they're leaving because someone got shot."
Michael Haynie, president of the Waverly Merchant's Association:
"We want the perception out there that we do care and that we do work together. I do not feel that the city has abandoned us at all. But I do think we have to work with the city. The community has to be as much a part of the process as our city leaders are."