Extreme Makeover: WCP Edition
A week or two ago, I spent serious time commuting to and from Henson Ridge for a story on the struggling Hope VI community. As far as appearances go, the neighborhood is well-made, well-designed, and has some nifty new playgrounds. On closer inspection, teenagers still gravitate toward the decrepit rec center and crummy basketball courts, and have converted a set of jersey barriers into a hangout spot. Violence has inched up. Residents have started complaining about trash piling up at those new playgrounds, the lack of routine upkeep, and the need for more cops on their new streets.
There's tension between renters vs. homeowners, grandmothers vs. bored teenagers, and residents seeking comfort and quiet vs. residents or visitors sipping the cheap stuff in public.
But what felt so much like the old housing project days wasn't these gripes. It was hearing residents talk about the management company–Edgewood.
Of course, I didn't interview every resident. And some I did talk to had no complaints and loved Henson Ridge. But there were others who shared a different history. There was the resident whose air conditioner had been broken for a week. She says she called Edgewood multiple times and even visited their offices in Henson Ridge twice. She was still without AC.
And there were the three residents who had bullet holes in their walls. Two of whom made reference to promises Edgewood had made to them. And still the holes hadn't been fixed. I don't know about you but I'd prefer a kitchen without a bullet hole.
Schnetia Green, 65, had lived with a bullet hole above her kitchen table for more than a month. She had complained but could get no one from Edgewood to fix it. Then I showed up at her door.
A few days after my story ran on Henson Ridge, she called to give me the good news. The hole had been fixed.
"It just got fixed Monday," Green says. "But look how long it was open before they fixed it?"
Yeah. But that was before Washington City Paper came to the rescue, right? Did the management company, um, mention my story?
"They didn't mention it," Green says.
Very interesting. Edgewood not only fixed her pocked wall but they went ahead and fixed her droopy ceiling. They probably expected a follow-up expose! Right?