I was at Fergie’s on the Ave. this morning. It’s an old-school kind of diner that you don’t find often these days. The regulars are there daily for pre-dawn chats about politics and sports. Everyone seems to know everyone else. It’s tough to spend more than $10.
Owner Donna Ferguson has been living or working on McKinley Avenue for 54 years, so she’s seen the neighborhood change.
She loves the influx of young energy in the neighborhood.
The young people – many of them married – come in and they’re buying up properties and fixing them up. It’s positive. It’s exciting. I love the young people.
She’s seen the ups and downs of the community:
When I was younger, we had a grocery store. We had a hardware store. There were plenty of businesses. And now it’s starting to look like it did when I was a child. These are exciting things, because it went down, down, down for a lot of years.
A year ago, the neighborhood got fed up with the drug dealers. And the young people took charge. They said, ‘Not in our neighborhood.’ They took it back. And I absolutely love it.
Things were bad for a long time and a lot of people didn’t want to come here. But things are getting so much better. I’m so excited.
She said rejuvenated community involvement is what tipped the scales against the pimps and drug dealers:
Law enforcement can’t control it all. The community has to do it. If the people don’t jump in, it’s not going to change.