on neighborhood change

AF: From the perspective where you sit today, how do you really feel about your role in this community, and also looking ahead, as far as the evolution of this area?

BL: Well, I think the effect is when I was first living here, when Kate [Thomas] and I were first living here, until people started moving into the Copy Cat building, the neighborhood was actually pretty dangerous. We would get our cars broken into all the time, and stolen a number of times. We’d be calling about gunfights that you could actually see out the windows. Then, as the artists moved in, and they were up all hours of the night, that started to change.

Gradually, over time, things have really changed. People are now more willing to come here to go to these studios, more willing to go to the Charles Theatre, they’re even willing to go to some of the theaters that are on North Avenue. And that was kind of unheard of.

The gentrification issue, the SoHo effect, has been talked a lot about by everybody here. And it’s something that we are trying to prevent. We have that a certain amount of the housing is designated for Section 8 housing. So that, in a way, prevents some of it from happening.

[Phone rings – interview pauses]

But the community association and the Station North Arts Association want to prevent that, because we don’t want to be in the situation where the artists can’t afford to be here. So we’re happy that the property values are going up, but we don’t want them to start skyrocketing and having it so that we can’t live here, that it’s only going to be women’s clothing stores and theaters. We want to keep it.

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