|TWO AMERICAN TOWNS
At the tender age of seventy seven I have undertaken a part time activity caretaking a house in Speedway for some friends who live twenty miles away. They purchased a seventy seven year old house in old Speedway that had seen many occupants over the years. The residents who had received their mail in the house had left many marks of their passage with various interior paint schemes and color--remember PINK colors in living rooms. I never painted one that color but I have evidence that one of these residents did, like remnants behind switch plates and baseboards. I have been restoring the interior to have a less amateur appearance which means lots of scraping, sanding, and repairing. My almost daily visits to the house have availed me the opportunity to compare living in Speedway to my residence in Rainbow Ridge, just across the tracks from the Eastern edge of Speedway's town limits. Being a notekeeper, as I worked on the porch one day I began to list some of the observations I made that illustrate the differences.
Speedway is an incorporated civil town within Marion County. It has its own town council, police department, fire department, water works and sanitation, and taxing districts to include public schools. It is the dichotomy of public services between Speedway and Rainbow Ridge that caught my eye and prompted me to write this little discourse on quality of life differences.
In Speedway home owners are expected to maintain their property to an unspecified standard of appearance lest you be reported by neighbors and a Code Enforcement official will come by and write you a little ticket. Contrast that with my neighborhood in Rainbow Ridge where the only effective enforcement is the State Department of Health through the Mayor's Action Center (MAC). In Rainbow Ridge no city officials will ever routinely patrol to enforce a standard for there are none, save for weeds. Even high weeds must be reported to the MAC, the call-in number citizens are urged to use to report certain civic violations. They do try but Marion County is severely understaffed in dealing with the ills that get reported.
In Speedway children can walk to school. Not so in Rainbow Ridge where all children are bussed owing to safety concerns. In Speedway neighbors come by to introduce themselves which develops a sense of community. But on the 'Ridge this is never done. I know a few immediate neighbors but that's it.
Trash collection in Speedway is contracted out. Garbage is collected regularly, on time every week, even bags of trash, loose boxes, even broken furniture. In Rainbow Ridge the sanitation people will NOT take anything not placed in the approved, city provided, container. If your container is full you cannot place the overflow on the ground because it will be left behind. Most residents just let the overflow pile up, balanced on the full container as best they can. In Rainbow Ridge many folks are aged and cannot manage the containers so they just sit on the street. There is no code that they have to be removed to one's property. Pity.
In Speedway, if you need a law officer for other than an emergency you call and one will come almost immediately. In Rainbow Ridge you must call on the non-emergency number. Forty rings is fast service and even if they answer you may never get a response. The Metropolitan Police are always not available for routine calls because of high emergency demand for their limited resources. Speedway is a fine little town, largely unchanged since its incorporation 82 years ago. People readily move there and real estate values remain high. Rainbow Ridge is a 'changing' neighborhood. It's homeowners and residents are not 'improving' many properties. One could summarize the 'Ridge' as going steadily downhill. I wonder why? What is the difference between the 'Ridge' and Speedway? So close together but so far apart. I'd call it PRIDE but who knows where that comes from. Len Ashburn