Gangs, drugs, and criminals. These were the words Trainsong residents and business owners once used to define their neighborhood. Community, clean-up, and initiative are the words they now use to define an area that has taken steps to improve its reputation.
The problems with gang violence and drug use have plagued Trainsong for years. “The park was always full of tweakers, there was a bunch of gangsters that used to live around the corner,” said Trainsong resident Shane Truesdale. “But that was like seven years ago, the place has really cleaned up since then.”
The residents created a neighborhood association, enacted a neighborhood watch program, and attempt to build a sense of community in an area where people tended to keep to themselves. Truesdale has seen results. “I’ve seen a lot of improvement in the last few years,” he said. “It has made a difference.”
Through neighborhood events in Trainsong park with games for kids and barbeques the Trainsong residents started to form relationships with neighbors they never knew. The city has also stepped in with grants for the neighborhood association to keep the park clean and plant trees.
All these efforts have made the problems of the past almost non-existent. “I don’t think it (the neighborhood) has a big problem,” said Oakshire Brewing majority owner Jeff Althouse. Oakshire worked alongside the neighborhood association to plant trees throughout the neighborhood.
Althouse thinks the people of Trainsong are wonderful and is more concerned with road conditions than gang members or drug addicts. “It would be more convenient if the road was in better shape,” he said.
Katie Amondson, program manager at Looking Glass Youth & Family Services Station 7 on Roosevelt Dr., also sees road conditions in Trainsong as a cause for concern. “If you walk around the neighborhood there are some pretty bad roads,” she said. An initiative enacted last year aimed to improve the roads and make the neighborhood more attractive to outside visitors.
Road conditions are a far cry from Trainsong’s previous problems. The actions taken by residents have created an environment suitable for successful businesses and homeowners alike.
Shane Truesdale knows that more of the same will help continue the positive perception of Trainsong. “I think if we just keep moving forward the way we have been and stay a community, I think it should be fine.” he said.
The new tune that Trainsong is singing is one of community and hope.