The question is often asked of Detroit historic neighborhood residents, “Why do you live there?!?” Generally, the question comes from a non-resident. But it’s sometimes been heard within groups of actual residents, usually said with a shake of the head and a shoulder shrug. In an effort to respond to this question in a totally NON scientific way, this Examiner decided to interview Detroit historic neighborhood folks directly.
Let’s start with Kolleen Jones. She and her husband moved to Detroit’s Historic Indian Village seven years ago. She agrees lots of folks ask her, “Why?!?” In no particular order, here are her responses. “Urban scrawl scares me. I think it will scare others eventually. I think that there will be a big move back to cities.” She goes on to explain that it looked like fun to live by all of the restaurants and entertainment. She wanted a “cool home” but could not achieve the cool she was hoping for living in a three-bedroom brick ranch in the burbs, no matter how hard she tried. Now, she says, “My house is cool without trying.”
Kolleen has seen Detroit struggle and wanted to be part of the solution. So, she gives Detroit as much of her money as she can in terms of housing, taxes, shopping, dining, services and more. As an environmentalist, the idea of preserving an older home and purchasing used (antique) furniture seems the “green” thing to do. Most importantly, it seemed exciting to be an urban pioneer.
At the time they bought their home, it seemed like a good investment when they examined property values over time. They admit that with the current downturn in the economy, that hasn't happened but it hasn’t deterred their determination to continue on this course. They both love the community of Indian Village and are active volunteers in many of the ongoing projects and committees.
When asked if she had any regrets about moving to this community after seven years, Kolleen replied, “No, I now know that I was a bit naïve about the negatives but they are so insignificant when compared to the positives.” The couple always assumed that only good would come from their decision to move to Indian Village but she feels those expectations were surpassed. Being particularly sensitive to the apathy she felt living in the suburbs, the best has been how involved and excited her neighbors are. She is impressed that most of them work a full-time job as well as all of the volunteer hours they contribute.
Kolleen concluded with remarks about “never a dull moment” when living in Indian Village. Although she admits crime is not “funny” and she walks the talk as a long-time volunteer of HASP, the volunteer Historic Area Security Patrol, there are still funny sides to some of the incidents. While she was participating as a resident who monitored a vacant home through the use of silent alarms, a man tried to steal a bathtub. When the alarm went off, he had already moved the 200 pound cast iron tub from the second floor to the front door. When confronted, he ran. Later, it took four men to replace the bathtub in the home.
Kolleen is a happy resident of the Detroit historic community that she and her husband call home. Their home is beautiful and fulfills all of their dreams, It’s affordable and the tight-knit neighborhood is a bonus. They are excited about the future goals and possibilities of both the community and the city of Detroit.