A little over 2 and 1/2 years ago, my wife and I sold our home in the greater Green Hills area (not the posh side, believe me!) and moved into a brand new house in a little-known neighborhood called Salemtown. The way I identified my new environs to my friends was (and still occasionally, but less and less) is that neighborhood directly to the north of Germantown.
We were excited about the move. Our kids had flown and we were ready for something different. We got different: sidewalks, front porches, occasional gun shots (the only gun shot I heard in the old hood was the starter’s pistol at Lipscomb’s track which was directly below my old house). We swallowed hard a few times, but we really never regretted the move.
Suddenly we had a block of neighbors, most of them glad for a renewal of interest. One of those neighbors was doing something called ‘blogging’. I’d heard of blogging of course, but never gave it a second thought. S-townMike was actually writing about the neighborhood and what goes into the development of community.
Michael inspired me. I started to blog and naturally pretty much tried to copy what he was doing. Imitation being flattery, and all that. I soon realized that I was no Michael. He IS the hyper-local blogger for this part of the world, and no one appreciates that fact more than me.
I still make the occasional blog-foray into Salemtown, but if you wanna know about this neighborhood – ENCLAVE.
Our thriving neighborhood association (Salemtown Neighbors) evolved from that blog. Our neighborhood is quickly evolving as well. I don’t hear the gunshots much anymore. New houses are springing up all around….many of which we welcome.
Which finally brings me to the real point. Salemtown is a diverse neighborhood. Our sidewalks, front porches and mostly single-family dwellings are conducive to community. As stated above, developers have noticed the attractiveness of Salemtown. Some of them have contributed beautiful, well-designed homes, relatively affordable considering the prices due south. Others have decided that our part of the world is prime ‘duplex-dump’ territory.
I’ve got nothing against duplexes as long as they are part of the fabric and not the dominant face of the community. Lynn and I moved into Salemtown not for a quick way to make money in a burgeoning neighborhood, but because we wanted to make this place our home for many years. Most of our neighbors, new and old, feel the same way.
Developers who have curried favor with us individually and collectively are short-sighted if they believe our initial support will continue if their view is of $alemtown as a dumping ground for duplex complexes that affords the fast buck, but leaves us with the long-term cost of more transitory sojourners and devalued homes.
Fortunately for us, the Metro Planning Commission agrees with us. A recent attempt by the developer of Salem Gardens to rezone the property to build all duplexes was rebuffed. The developer (correctly, imo) was given permission to build a mix of single-family homes and duplexes.
Our neighborhood association has come together and is petitioning the Metro Council to heed the word of the Planning Commission. A lot of us are writing council members individually.
The small point here is that we are fighting a battle we need to win. The larger point is that the house amidst a collection of houses we moved into more than 30 months ago is part of something bigger…a NEIGHBORHOOD called Salemtown.