First on the list was a movie theater. Sure, it was mostly for selfish reasons, but the rationale also made sense for rad-ifying Foster: more visitors, more entertainment, and a domino effect that could bring us other things that we thereford wouldn’t have to waste a wish on.
Next on our list was a bundle: trees, lights, and public art. Some of these may or may not get significant funding in the Foster Streetscape budget, so we figured we’d hedge our bets and ensure we got lighting for aesthetics, better night-time vision, and as a way to keep people out at night; trees to increase the canopy and add visual appeal to Foster; public art for increased interaction between the street/urban environment and the people who will increasingly hang around.
We know the trees, lighting, and public art may come eventually. As for the theater, it’s also a waiting game. In some ways, we’re hoping Santa delivers more money to Nick Storie—or someone who knows how to manage a movie house—rather than a gift to us.
In theory, the above additions would act as a catalyst for the following: increased interest in Foster as a commercial/entertainment district, more investment, and more use/support by those (including locals) who would otherwise drive to Woodstock, Division, or Hawthorne. I’ll just assume that means we’d get another restaurant, maybe some more retail, and (gasp!) a place to buy some healthy foods. Soooo…the last and final wish becomes that much easier.
First, here’s what we heard from you (in no particular order): grocery store, bowling alley, Lincoln statue for Laurelwood Park, restoration of the Phoenix Pharmacy building, a craft store (with a pony…no, a wolfhound), and a pub or some food/beer combo to go with the hypothetical theater.
Again, for simplicity’s sake, we’ll just assume we get all those things once Foster gets prettied-up and people flock to the neighborhood for movies.
So what does that leave us?
Well, before we get there, let’s just make something clear: we still want to recognize Foster in 10 years. A few less bicycle (or any other metal parts you haven’t chained up) thefts and tweakers would be nice, but even they sort of come with the territory. We’re not looking for some Foster utopia. We want some new amenities and improvements, but we also want to maintain our character, vibrancy, and diversity.
With that said, our third wish (unless we have to wish for all the absentee landlords to get with the program and sell/lease their properties) is threefold: maintain affordable housing (as property values increase and expensive infill-homes are built); a non-profit center for community arts; continued avenues for community activism (i.e. neighborhood associations, community advocacy groups, partnerships with elected officials, etc).
Sexy? No, sorry to disappoint. Maybe you’ll thank us in 10 years, though.
As we approach another year of transition in the neighborhood, let us know how you’d like to see Foster grow in the near and long term.