25 Jan Thank You Anita Prather
Thank You Anita Singleton Prather, aka Aunt Pearlie Sue
There was a cold chill in the air Saturday morning as warm hearts gathered in Anita Prather’s side yard for a prayer breakfast. In attendance were young and old, black and white, come here’s and been here’s, all of whom are concerned about their neighborhood whose vitality is critical to our city, our diversity and hometown character. Pastors led prayers about eradicating violence. This is obviously no small issue for the victims, their families and neighbors. Nor is it unimportant to the larger community that celebrates being the best hometown in the world.
Notwithstanding the cold air, and some of the bare facts we must face, I believe it was a first step in refueling the fire for downtown redevelopment.
A dose of reality:
If I lived in the Northwest Quadrant, referred to as such for lack of a better name, I would be upset. Within the past several years:
I would have lost access to a community center that was a safe place for young and old to gather.
I would be sad to see that nearly half of the homes that used to be here are no longer standing and there are unkempt lots owned by investors and/or owners from out of town who do not take care of them.
I would see rental properties whose tenants and owners do not maintain with pride.
I would have lost the Piggly Wiggly that was the only supermarket to which I could walk.
My children or grandchildren would have lost the access to the Boys and Girls Club which is essentially closed to the neighborhood.
I would have seen a neighborhood squabble that got in the way of citizen proposed improvements to the Washington Street Park.
I would have seen Mr. Pruitt close the last remaining neighborhood market.
I would be sorry to see efforts by neighbors, with the help of others, to improve our neighborhood slip away because of a seeming lack of interest.
I would be unhappy knowing that the Elks Club transitioned to a venue for young people from outside the neighborhood to come and party late into the night raising concerns about how it was impacting the safety and tranquility of my neighborhood.
I would be concerned about incidents of violence in recent months down the street from my home.
Though I do not live in the neighborhood, I share these concerns as Mayor. More importantly, I share these concerns as a native who wants to live in a diverse city taking pride in itself while creating a brighter future for the next generation.
By no means have I given up hope. Rather, my eyes are opened even wider. My batteries are recharged to embrace these challenges that are just as important to the sustainability of our community as new development on Ladys Island and other parts of the county.
If we work together, I have no doubt that we can help restore a sense of pride and foster collaboration as we have done in the past. We can make our hometown even better for ALL.
Please take time to consider what you could contribute as we venture ahead.
Next week I will write about some of the very hopeful solutions I see in sight as we come together as a community. But keep in mind, no matter how hard the city works, how much money we invest, no matter how much outside help comes in, those who live and have ties to the Northwest Quadrant must take the lead.
Thank you Anita for waking us up. Now it is time for collaboration, hard work, strong will, individual and community investment.