That’s not a pessimistic approach. In the case of the Rocky Hollow neighborhood, it’s a simple fact that rooting out crime and bringing a stronger sense of community and safety to that once-idyllic part of Anniston may prove to be an extremely tough assignment.
The good news, as described in Sunday’s Star by reporter Cameron Steele, is that those interested in the eastern Anniston neighborhood’s future are off to a fine start. They deserve commendation. At the top of that list are Rocky Hollow residents who have put down their collective feet and said, “Enough.” As evidenced by their community meeting in August, the decision to lead the discussion about cleaning up their neighborhood should be viewed as the most-important step.
Without buy-in from Rocky Hollow residents, anything City Hall or the Anniston Police Department does will fall short of expectations.
It is a perfect example of well-intentioned people taking charge of their own neighborhoods. Calhoun County’s other areas that need various forms of improvement should take note of what the people of Rocky Hollow are doing.
It is, as City Councilman Jay Jenkins told The Star, a case of empowerment and teamwork. Amen, we say. “There’s an opportunity to fix things,” Jenkins said. “While we may not live in that neighborhood, we all have a stake in its well-being. It doesn’t take too long to reach out and figure out how that affects us across town.”
Needless to say, Rocky Hollow has systemic problems that are deeper than blighted properties that need a good sprucing. If that was the case, all that would be needed would be a few good yard men and an early fall cleaning.
It’s difficult to find someone familiar with Anniston who isn’t quick to list Rocky Hollow’s problems: elevated crime rate, a strong (and earned) reputation for illegal drug activity, and the common sound of gunshots. Some parts are notorious; others are quaint and inviting. Yet, it’s an undeniable fact that APD constantly responds to a high number of calls to that part of town.
The residents’ view: “Enough.”
Annistonians should support this grassroots campaign to improve Rocky Hollow. It’s one thing for police to ramp up patrols. But it’s something else when wise residents step up, take charge and blanket their own streets with positive, constructive efforts.