Revisiting the “Heart of Foster”

Last week we posed the question:  if the stretch of Foster between SE 60th and 67th were to be “branded,” by what name would you prefer it be known?

This question was prompted by a conversation at the May Foster Green Eco District meeting, in which voting members agreed to discuss re-naming the “Heart of Foster” as some sort of branding campaign.  The idea was sparked by a Lents resident who felt the name implied lesser qualities for other stretches of Foster.

Streetscape BannerAs background, the term gained popular use in the original Foster Streetscape Plan.  It was in this plan that the area in question was designated as a hub of activity, thus “the heart.”  And without question, ten years later, it’s obvious the few blocks between Laurelwood Park and 67th remain one of the more pedestrian-trafficed stretches of Foster.  And as PDC eyes this area as one with higher development opportunities, that trend should only continue.

So why the change?  To be sure, there is no change.  Not yet.  Suggestions weren’t even discussed at the Foster Green meeting.  However, branding the area will become important for the viability of this stretch of Foster in the near future, and some agree that the brand should not alienate or offend the surrounding neighborhoods.  By voting to discuss a future name change, most agreed that the current name may do that—or at the very least, portray an inaccurate geographic location.

Laurelwood ParkSo what are some ideas?  It’s been tossed around before that Arleta may link the two adjoining neighborhoods of Mt. Scott and Foster-Powell.  And there’s some historical reference to support that, too (the Wikman Building was once known as the Arleta Library).  Laurelwood was another idea, with the obvious connection to Laurelwood Park at Holgate and Foster.  And then there’s the option of keeping the “Heart of Foster” as is.  It’s been in use for 10 years, there is no intent to demean other parts of Foster (nor does it have to be perceived that way), and it also makes for an easy branding effort.  To round out the poll, we also offered FoPo as a name.  No, it doesn’t necessarily make geographic sense, and it could be confusing to have the larger neighborhood bounded by Foster and Powell share the same name as a much smaller, defined stretch of Foster.  However, it has become a brand in and of itself, and it’s the most recognizable name this part of Southeast has outside of the neighborhood (most refer to this general area as FoPo, anyway).

Here’s how you voted:

– With over 70 votes, the vast majority felt the Heart of Foster or FoPo were the names to use for branding purposes; 35% chose Heart of Foster, 28% chose FoPo.

– Arleta came in third place with 20% of the votes.

– Laurelwood took 10%, though I wonder if that figure would change if/when that park gets redesigned and becomes a little more prominent in the Foster streetscape

– A few people chose other, but not many suggestions were left.  Of those commenting, it was suggested that ‘Heart’ be replaced with ‘Central,’ thus “Central Foster.”  And another commenter suggested that Laurelwood may be more aptly named if it were called Foster’s Laurelwood District.  All very good ideas.

In the end, though, a name change will be a pretty big task and not so easy to come by.  Foster Green would need to collaborate with multiple neighborhood associations, FABA, individual business owners and residents along the stretch, as well as the overall community.  Finding consensus may be tough.

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2 Responses to Revisiting the “Heart of Foster”

  1. I still like Heart of Foster. That stretch (60th to 67th) is certainly the hub of pedestrian activity now.That picture will change if the Mercado actually gets their commercial development underway at 72nd-73rd and Foster. I think they are planning for food carts, restaurants and shops that should attract more shoppers to this section, but at that time we could re-define the heart to include the new development. We are at 72nd and Foster, but we are a destination shop with customers coming from miles away as well as from the neighborhood. A-Boy is more like us, as is the sheet metal fabricator and the salvage company. I’m not sure how we can fit in to the picture, and we have felt on the outside of promotions at times but we are still ready to participate. .

  2. Good points, Kathleen. I even wonder if the boundaries of the “Heart of Foster” could be extended to 72nd. If in fact the shopping center at 67th gets another tenant and/or is redeveloped for mixed-use, combined with the eventual Mercado at 72nd, I can see the whole stretch being active.

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