Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Open letter to neighboring convenience store

As we struggle to rebuild our in-between-designated-neighborhoods area, we find ourselves with issues that require constant attention and sometimes, a more serious plan.
As we have spent loads of time daily picking up trash along the end of the bayou, asking our neighbor (the animal eye hospital) to supply dog bags at our end, demanding the placement of some city garbage cans to encourage trash to be put inside, working with neighboring businesses to ask their customers to not block driveways and stop signs, we also work to find a way to get the 24 hour-a-day convenience store to respect its location. Below, is a letter I am sending to them, (which does not even mention how MUCH of my neighbor's time has been spent communicating with them) in hopes of moving their attitude a little bit further into the sphere of good neighbor land.
Please feel free to share this letter with people that might be interested in learning about the issues at the end of the bayou or are working on their own area issues. If folk use the store, and can mention to the workers when inside that there is trash around and maybe they can step outside to pick it up, collective action is always helpful.

To Whom It May Concern:

I am asking that your establishment spend at least 10 minutes every 4 hours on EITHER side of your building, picking up the trash that is thrown on the ground on the Orleans and the St. Peter streets, from Moss to Hagan Avenue. Many neighbors have asked before that you send a staff person out (which you agreed to) and I would like you to start to honor that agreement again. As a piece of advice, as it is clear that the few times that a staff person has come out that that the situation was much better for a week or two, so I would recommend that you schedule this task on the actual work schedule, so that your staff understands the seriousness of presenting a clean, professional business to your customers and neighbors.

Since you are open 24 hours a day, I am asking for a total of ONE HOUR of trash pickup, which does not seem excessive at all considering the amount of business you receive from being in this prime location.

Please understand that I have run many businesses, some exactly like yours. I know the workload and responsibilities of running a neighborhood store, and know-without reservation- that you can build this task within your daily schedule without any problem. If you continue to ignore the residential neighbors issues, I am sure that we will redouble our efforts to make sure that ALL laws, regulations and niceties are followed, even if it means assigning someone to manage this process for us every day.

I am also sending this to city officials to make sure they understand we are doing everything in our power to correct this situation in a timely and calm manner. I ask that you do everything you can to make sure you do the same.

D. Wolnik

3320 St. Peter (under construction)
New Orleans LA 70119

(temporary) 625 Hagan Lot W
New Orleans LA 70119

This is the letter I sent to the church that owns the building behind the convenience store and shows how a neighbor can take it seriously:

Dear Pastor Davis,

I want to alert you to the issue of the trash that is collecting on the St. Peter side of your church's building. This morning there was easily a garbage bag's worth of trash on the side, and yes, most of that can be directly traced to the 24 hour a day convenience store behind your building, across from our community. Your maintenance of your building is fine and appreciated; this issue is one that is forced on us by the store, but one we all have to face.
We work very hard daily to pick up trash, using our own time and supplies because we think it is the mark of a successful neighborhood when everyone is looking out for all things. To that end, we request that a staff member (or someone you designate) travel to the building every 2-3 days and walk the perimeter with a bag and gloves to assist in keeping this shared space beautiful.
We also would request that more neighbors ask the store to also put a staff member out daily to pick up the trash before it blows into our areas and to respect this unequaled space next to the bayou that they have in their possession at this time. Please let us know if you are able to find time to contact the owners (and we have their contact information if needed) and what, if any response you might want to share with us.
Thank you in advance for your attention to this matter.

Darlene Wolnik

The church's reply:

Thank you for the head's up on the rear of our property. I will have our janitor to check that part of our property regularly.
We appreciate your help as we have tried to be a bright light here for the past 28 years.

Frank Davis

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