DETROIT (WWJ) – WWJ first met Patricia Findly two months ago when City Beat Reporter Vickie Thomas went to her street to follow-up on a fire at a vacant home on Detroit’s east side.
Forty-six years ago Patricia and her husband moved into the neighborhood. She watched as local homemakers scrubbed their sidewalks and their windows so clean they looked glass-free.
“Oh yeah, I’ve got to keep up with these ladies … I’m going to keep up with them. I’m going to watch them and see what they do,” laughed Findly.
Today her immaculately kept home stands almost in defiance among the burned out homes and trash-strewn empty lots.
“When someone says they are coming to my home and I try to give them directions, I’m trying to find the best way that it doesn’t look so bad,” she said about the neighborhood. “Once they come up, they see how awful it looks — their going to say, “My God, I didn’t know she lived … in that neighborhood.”
Findly said she can’t bear to leave the home full of loving memories with her recently deceased husband. She wishes someone in city government would come and visit and look out her front window.
“See what I see from my front window — for my money, for my taxes: absolutely nothing,” Findly said. “I see nothing and it’s awful.”
A few miles away, 32-year-old Carly Strachan, a suburbanite with a 6-year Detroit rental history, has just bought a home in the West Canfield Historic area.
“I realize after living here, just even renting, that I wanted to invest here. I am making my life here. So having the opportunity to purchase a home in a neighborhood that’s blossoming and continuing to grow … there was no hesitation about it,” Stracham said.
Strachan is a senior account manager at the Lovio George Communications in Midtown. She walks to work and her home sits in an area that’s thriving.
She said she sees stable housing in the area along with growing retail outlets and plenty of young blood.
“Ten years ago when I started working down here to where the city is now, it’s amazing,” she said. “The growth, how many new restaurants … My friends have opened up businesses that are succeeding and opening up new businesses.”
“The Riverfront wasn’t there 10 years ago, I’m riding my bike all the way to Belle Isle; I’m hanging out in Campus Martius on a Saturday,” Strachan added. “That wasn’t there 10 years ago. I’ve seen this transformation first hand and I believe in it. I believe it’s going to continue.”
Strachan paid under $200,000 for the large historic home.
Taxes? Those are high, about $5,000 a year. But, she said, she rarely uses her car, so that’s a big savings.
Police protection is good she said — thanks to the extra patrols by Wayne State University.
WWJ Newsradio 950′s Marie Osborne reports on the changing landscape in the city of Detroit in her series “Tale of Two Cities” this week. Listen on WWJ Newsradio 950 and come back to CBSDetroit.com each day for more.