Thursday, August 13, 2015  |  0 Comment(s)  |   Email   Print

Resident Q&A: Camille Clayton

by Ryan Mackin

With V2V sites in Gary nearing completion, there is a hint of change in the air in the Aetna community. One resident, Camille Clayton, shared her experience of living in the neighborhood for the past two decades. Check out her resident Q&A below!


How long have you lived in the neighborhood? What has your involvement with the Aetna Community been?

I have lived in my house since 1998, but have lived in the Aetna Community since 1994. For the past 6 years I have been the Precinct Committeeperson. Under the previous administration we would have frequent clean-ups where residents were allowed to place trash curbside. Dumpsters were located through-out the neighborhood where residents could put items that they no longer wanted or used. Just last year we had a community clean-up where we were given 2 dumpsters that were placed in different areas of Aetna. This was very successful, but I noticed that people outside of our community were dumping items, which lead me to believe that this is something that we need more of in the City of Gary.


What was different about the Aetna neighborhood when you moved here?

When I first moved to this community, there was a true downtown area. There was a dry cleaner, grocery store, meat market and a community center. The area was vibrant; neighbors knew each other, as well as their families. It was a working class community that really cared about the upkeep and appearance of their homes. It was a quiet and nice place to live.


What is the neighborhood like now? How has it changed?

The downtown area is now gone and there’s nothing left [on Aetna Street] but vacant buildings. There are lots of new faces and abandoned houses. Lots of homeowners are moving out and renting their homes or just plain abandoning their homes. There are too many transient people hanging around that don't care about maintaining the appearance of their properties.


Now that you know more about Vacant to Vibrant sites, how do you think they will affect the street and community? How do you see the sites being used? What concerns do you have?

I believe that it will be a positive impact. Hopefully the Vacant to Vibrant sites will inspire residents to feel proud about the area again. Rest areas will allow older residents to take their younger relatives and sit and read while they play. The area must have plenty of lighting and I do not wish for the younger residents to congregate there and frighten away the older residents.


What do you envision for Aetna's future? What other specific projects or general efforts would contribute to this vision?

I would like to see abandoned houses either demolished, or rehabbed with people living in them. Continuously organizing clean-ups in the area and helping residents clean vacant areas will help, as would starting Block Clubs.
We just want to improve the quality of life for the residents living in the community.


Resident Q&A’s from V2V neighborhoods in Buffalo and Cleveland are on the way!


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