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Spending a Little Time in the Streetts

By Eric Richardson
Published: Wednesday, January 26, 2005, at 06:49PM

I mentioned in the bit on last night's meeting that one of the topics of discussion is the environment on Main St. DLANC President Brady Westwater will tell you that Main is better right now: that the drug dealing locations have been locked up and evicted. Last night after the meeting Don Garza and I walked down 1st and then took a little walk down Main for ourselves. Executive summary: it's not perfect, but it's better.

We spent twenty minutes or so standing around next to the Old Bank District, talking to some security guys and then a couple other people Don knew. One of the security guys wasn't very happy about my SC hat; he was a big Oklahoma fan, so obviously he still has some issues to work out for himself. He admitted that he knew SC was going to win: Oklahoma just didn't have the defense this year that it's had in the past. He maintained that 2002's SC team was better than this year's, and that's a point I'm not really going to argue. That 2002 team that crushed Iowa was unreal at the end of the season.

But SC football is neither here nor there when it comes to Main Street.

Obviously Gilmore's buildings have made a huge difference on that corner. There's not much need to argue about that.

Walking just a little farther down Main, this time on the east side of the street, we came to 5th street. At the corner there we started talking to a guy who had a lot to say about what really needs to be done to help the people out on Skid Row. We stood there talking for an hour. Some of it was just talk, but inside there was a good kernel of truth: just go get to know people. Know their names. He also had some good stuff to say about jobs: a lot of people are too old to go to school and get a degree. Just teach them to do a job and let them use that to provide a better situation for their children. Now I know there are a lot of factors involved on both sides of the situation and it's easy to say things like that without doing anything about it. But still, it's good to hear. Sometimes the simple solutions are the best ones.

One guy in front of one of the SRO hotels asked if I was with the homeless census going on right now. I wasn't, but I could understand his confusion; I was a white kid walking around Skid Row at midnight.

Between 5th and 6th is still a little sketchy. Not enough that I would worry about it, but I could understand why people would. It's definitely something that could be helped with streetscaping and lighting, though.

So that's my little nighttime Main Street tour. Your experience may vary, but that's what I found.


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