By Justin Wasson
Tree-lined streets, old Victorian-style houses, and friendly neighbors. These are among the first things I think of when someone asks me about the Wellington Heights neighborhood.
Regarding the Aug. 12 Gazette story “Wellington Heights sees increase in police calls,” I want to point out that the headline is inaccurate. The number of police calls, according to Police Chief Wayne Jerman, and which can be verified online, is actually down nearly 10 percent this year. Crime in the area also has been on the decline. The negativity of this article was demoralizing to a number of people, especially those who have put a lot of hours into improving the neighborhood.
Being a first-time homeowner in Wellington has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life so far. I bought my house four years ago at age 21 and have no regrets about the purchase. One of the reasons that I like this neighborhood so much is because of the sense of community that the area has. It is a lot easier to find a friendly neighbor than it is to find the shady thugs and dreaded gangster activity that is talked about in the local media. I never feel unsafe while walking to the grocery store, to Dairy Queen or anywhere else in the area.
There is no doubt that Wellington provides some of the most affordable housing around. I finished paying off my house last year at age 24 because the housing prices in this area are unbeatable. This is a great opportunity for new families to start here, for doctors and nurses to live less than 5 minutes from the major hospitals, or for any other person who is looking for affordable living in a friendly area. There are a number of great programs in the neighborhood aimed at encouraging first-time homeowners as well as quality renters to locate here.
I ask everyone reading this article to realize that the perception of the neighborhood may not generally be a positive one, but I assure you that the reality is very different. Wellington Heights residents do not tolerate crime and the negative activities that are often talked about. This is made clear at our neighborhood association meetings where we typically have between 30 and 50 engaged neighbors attending. These neighbors are actively working on the much-needed improvements in the area.
This sense of community and the friendly atmosphere are just a part of what makes this neighborhood great. This is why I and many others are proud residents in the Wellington Heights neighborhood.
Justin Wasson is president of the Wellington Heights neighborhood Association. Comments: email@example.com