This past weekend, we had the opportunity to engage with some of the “zealous nuts” of the Borgo Bello community. There was a great turnout at the clean up, and we didn’t just clean. We listened to music, danced and ate some of the best home cooked food I’ve ever had. It was a fun event and everyone participated for the same reason, which connected everyone though not everyone knew each other before the event. Having said these great things, a couple of things in particular that have left a bad taste in my mouth.
After trimming the weeds, it was evident that the terrace may not actually be entirely safe. Under the weeds, we found what looked like old needles and syringes from drug users. The idea that people carelessly threw those objects on the ground bothers me, especially since we would not have been able to see them if the weeds weren’t trimmed. What if a group of children were playing tag and one accidentally stepped on one? This all goes back to the idea that we need more eyes on the street, especially if the terrace is supposed to be an ideal location for children. There needs to be more traffic otherwise these things will continue to happen. More traffic will not entirely eliminate the use of this space for drugs, but it might make people think twice about throwing it on the ground. Another observation that bothered me was that the colorful picture frame with our Umbra logo had been smashed. The people using the terrace clearly didn’t have the respect for the work being done by placemakers. I don’t believe that everyone who uses it is causing trouble, but once again it is clear that a sketchy crowd is attracted to this space.
Part of the reason that kids haven’t taken back the streets is because of things like this. I feel that Borgo Bello is a relatively safe neighborhood, but there may be some suspicious activity taking place at night. Due to knowledge of this suspicious activity, parents may be forbidding there kids to wonder into less popular places. The terrace isn’t an extremely popular place (at least not yet). More traffic through this area will help create a safety net from those “sketchy” groups of people.