say good neighbors are hard to come by, but those of us who live in Old
Louisville know better. Good
neighbors and the sense of community they engender are one of Old
Louisvilles strongest attributes.
We look out for one another around here.
Ann and Arnold Celentano. Nearly
seven years ago, they moved into a house in the 1000 block of South Third
St. What they found was not pretty.
witnessed a drug deal outside our kitchen window, Jo Ann recalled.
We had a back yard full of huge trees that were old and rotten
on the inside. There was a
parking lot almost to our back door and everywhere there was garbage.
Whatever certain people didnt want, they threw it out in the
alley. Syringes, liquor
bottles, cigarette butts, garbage, garbage, everywhere.
years later, all of that has changed.
The garbage-infested alley is clean and was recently named in honor
of Howard Poole, who has owned and operated Dizzy Whiz restaurant on the
south end of the alley for the past 53 years.
Celentanos back yard that once provided the setting for drug deals and
loitering is now a reservoir of natural beauty. Arnold and Jo Ann had the
rotten trees removed and planted a flower garden.
the sunshine in and the bad people just left, Jo Ann said. You cant
improve the quality of life when you live in garbage.
Arnold started picking up garbage and it was contagious.
Others started doing the same thing.
Then the Second Street Liquor Store closed and that was a big help.
Plus, we have great neighbors.
Baptist Towers, they are just fantastic neighbors.
They keep an eye on the alley and call if anything suspicious is
things were improving in the alley out back of their home, a different
situation was festering out front and across the street.
A former boarding house was converted to housing for men who were
on medication and suffered from various physical and emotional problems.
There was no one qualified to supervise the distribution of
medication and when things got out of hand, the sheriff would show up and
some of these men would be taken to Central State, according to Jo Ann.
so sad, she said. These
men would come out carrying a Kroger bag which held everything they owned
and the Sheriff would haul them off.
thought there had to be a better way to treat these men. They were housed in 8x8 rooms.
Without proper medication, some of the men became irrational and
violent. So, she wrote the
Kentucky Cabinet for Health Services and requested an investigation.
The day she mailed her letter requesting the investigation, a body
was found in the basement.
was somebodys son, she said. He
was found dead of three gun shot wounds to the chest and it was the smell
that led them to the body. He
had been dead for two weeks.
weeks later, another man died on the premises.
He died of natural causes, but drugs were not ruled out. I wrote another letter after that, Jo Ann said, and
by that time the State Health Department had gone into the property and
found in the words of their report, roaches, feces, and mounds of
evidence of neglect under guardianship.
was given until August 31 to clear the building of all occupants.
No one knows quite what the next step will be, but one thing is for
sure, the Celentanos are the ones we should tank for their perseverance
and courage. Good neighbors
can and do make a difference.
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