City Desk

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?

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  • Shannon

    I think WCP does great cover stories and I have been reading WCP for years. As a Homeowner at Henson Ridge, I think WCP should do a cover story on Mixed-Housing Communities in the District because if any of the other developments are anything like Henson Ridge then, the story would go down as another WCP classic cover story! If I had to do it again, I would not purchase a home in Henson Ridge.

  • JaTasha Everidge

    There is this restaurant in Lawrencville, GA that is so wonderfully fantasitc that it needs recognition. So far I think its been opened for a year and few months and making its way to hopefully many years to come. I ate at this place last month and found the food to be so great and fresh, the entertainment so enjoyable and the venue just breath taking I wanted it to be shared with the world.

    Its an older place that has been transformed into one mans dream. I spoke to the owner and the warmth I felt and invitation back to the place after enjoying such great meal was just wonderful. This owner has such great dreams and a want to just make people feel good and happy about being out and enjoying their time that I felt he should be helped with this dream.

    I think that an extreme restaurant makeover should be given to this restaurant and allowing it to be the grandest most best restaurant in Lawrenceville, GA. Reason being is because this owner is one of not many who finally opened a restaurant not for money but the smiles and enjoyment of others enjoying Cafe Bleu's food, and that deserves reconignition and praise. I hope you feel the same.