There are approximately five abandoned garages on Weaver Street that had been owned by residents living on Upshal . Most of these garages, if not all, are falling apart. However the city hasdenied requests to remove them due to claims that former owners still wish to keep the structure standing.
For Hattie Carter and other residents of Weaver Street, the city’s response was not what they wanted to hear. “If it needs taking down, take it down. If you can fix it up, fix it up, but to do absolutely nothing is not acceptable,” said Carter. "To continue looking at plight year after year is not acceptable.”
Along with the abandoned properties and garages, the sidewalks along the street are uneven and are missing huge chunks of concrete in some spots. Grass and trees have grown to exponential heights creating what some may call “an urban forest.” Some of these treesare taller than the telephone and cable wires and have become vision barriers for drivers turning onto Emlen Street, which runs adjacent to Weaver.Residents fear that these trees have a high probability of falling onto either their cars or homes.
Eloise Williams has been living on Weaver Street for about twenty years, but has been the Block Captain for the street for roughly six years. She has seen her fair share of neglect on Weaver Street. In fact one of the streetlights across from her house has been out for over a month. “I want the street to be clean and safe, especially when you go out at night and come in,” said Williams. “To be able to get out your car without looking around to see if someone’s gonna knock you on the head and snatch your pocket book.”
Williams's home is actually directly across from one of the largest trees on the block, which has been growing at a 45 degree angle towards her front yard. The same tree’s branches are intertwined with the street’s telephone, electrical and cable wires. Everyday Williams fears that the tree may come crashing down on her or someone else. A few weeks ago Verizon was installing wires for Verizon Fios, but they pretended the branches were not even there. “They just hung up that new wire and they don’t cut it back or anything,” said Williams.
Another neglected area of Weaver Street is the public sidewalk that crossesover the backyards of residents living on the street. Most of the pathway has no concrete what so ever, but other sections have huge pieces of concrete sticking up into the air.There is one gianttree blocking the path and another tree growing up the backside of a resident’s home. It is clearly a dangerous for anyone to walk on and it is surprising no one has gotten hurt from it.
This particular city block is part of the Eighth District, which is overseen by Councilwoman Donna Reed Miller. Carter and other residents of Weaver Street has contacted Councilwoman Miller’s office several times and has even gone to other resources offered in Mt. Airy. Unfortunately there have been several people out to see the street, but they have left the residents with many broken promises.
Residents took action into their own hands and were able to get funding to paint their homes with the assistance of Mt. Airy Community Organizer Cynthia Bradley. The exterior fix up was provided through private funding thatBradley had found from a non-profit called WorldChangers. Although residents were happywith the help, it was not exactly what they had been asking to be fixed. Bradley had promised to help the block more, but it has been over a year and she has not contacted either Williams or Carter back about lending further aid to the street.
Both Carter and Williams have high hopes that one day they can live on a street that without living in fear or disgust for their surroundings. They believe it is their right to have a safe and clean environment, which is a right for every citizen. “We need help. We are looking for somebody that is sincere and earnest about helping us get our environment clean and safe,” said Carter. “Where’s the help when you need it?
By Lisa Wilk and Keisha Frazier
Historical Society - Group 16