Of the many times I walk this route I keep asking myself, “How long before someone falls through? When will the flimsy plywood covering finally give way, causing serious injury to a hapless pedestrian?”
The building on southwest quadrant of East 38th Street and College Avenue are among the few still standing since I’ve moved here in 1965. One of those buildings in the old Maco Cleaners, long abandoned back in the 1980’s. Since then the building — with unclaimed dry cleaning and equipment still inside — remained unoccupied. By the 1990’s the contents were finally removed, the windows partially boarded but not enough to ward off vandals. Many times, on my daily walk from College to Meridian, I passed this unsightly relic, the front plastered with handbills and posters touting the latest local hip-hop sensation or ghetto throwdown. It would remain like this until spring 2007 when the front was enshrouded in plywood and once again the target of “music” promoters.
The plywood shroud makes foot travel difficult for some people, as you can see in this photo I took last year. . Due to the limited walking space, the Route 39 stop had to be moved to the southeast corner. Many a time I exited the bus only to keep myself from smacking into the shrouded building. Since then I’ve stopped walking on that side of the street, but other people do, and in doing so one has to step aside so others can pass. Step aside to what? Into ever-busy East 38the Street? So a pedestrian is to take a chance not to get hit by a car or, Heaven forbid, a full-sized Indygo bus which will surely kill even at 35 mph.
The sidewalk on this side is also covered in plywood, a condition left over from the Maple Road restoration project. Since then the covering remains; the refinished pavement and “beautifying” planter have yet to show. In November, before Thanksgiving, I sent Star Watch this same photo and a description of the situation. So far nothing has happened. The partially demolished building is still there as is its plywood shroud and the covered sidewalk. It is only a matter of time before someone falls through, resulting in serious injury. Perhaps the threat of a costly lawsuit will make those in charge take action. This eyesore has remained standing long enough!