As Jon Crawford strolled through Trainsong Park with his dog Kingpin on Friday morning he had the whole place to himself and that’s just the way he likes it. “Everyone here keeps to theirselves,” he said. “This is on of the quietest streets there is.” Jon lives next to Trainsong Park, a focal point of this small neighborhood home to many families.
The quiet street that Jon calls home hasn’t always been so quiet. According to him the SWAT team was called in two years ago to remove residents from a house who were spun out on drugs and holding other drug dealers hostage. Scenes like that have given Trainsong a reputation of being as Jon said, “scary, but there’s nothing going on over here.” Nothing might be good for homeowners, but it’s bad for business.
Chocolate Decadence owner Larry Bradley said, “No one knows where Bethel Dr. is.” He also shared similar feelings about the neighborhoods reputation. “There might be a perception that this is a negative neighborhood,” he said. “But actually it’s pretty positive; there’s a doughnut shop next door, the smell of barbeque every other day of the week, and a brewery behind us.” When asked the best way to improve the negative perception Larry said, “have people come down and eat more chocolate, if they ate more chocolate they’d feel better about the neighborhood.” Spoken like a true businessman.
Not all business in Trainsong struggle with the negative perception of the neighborhood. Eric Lahmers, an employee of Four Corners Veterinary Clinic on Roosevelt Blvd, said, “we haven’t really seen any negative effects on the clinic; they leave us alone for the most part.” He saw the neighborhood as a real mix of people from “regular homeowners to the somewhat downtrodden.”
Crawford’s, Bradley’s, and Lahmer’s statements all had the same theme; people associate Trainsong with things like crime and poverty, which keeps them away from the neighborhood. Trainsong’s lack of activity suits residents like Jon Crawford just fine. He knows the real atmosphere of the neighborhood and isn’t concerned with the public’s perception. Business owners like Larry Bradley, on the other hand, work hard to improve the reputation of the area in the hopes of bringing in more customers.
A small group of individuals have given the Trainsong community a bad name. A larger group has now stepped up to change that and turn the neighborhood a place for both businesses and homeowners.