Guest, I will be there at all times. Drug dealers/unwanted visitors will be kept out by a gate that I've built, and the house is now boarded up or otherwise repaired (it was completely exposed on 3 sides of the property before) to prevent other trespassers.
Aaron, this project is not a joke. You can have fun without making something a joke, and you can talk about serious things with different ways and means than you're used to. The joke is what Kevin wrote above: I've put more work into making a property safe when I don't even own it than the city has with a property right next door it DOES own. I'm just one guy with one small project. Think bigger picture, and think more positively.
Veganjambalaya, you're welcome to come by anytime. I'll introduce you to every neighbor on the block that was here before the storm, and they'll all rave. Their opinion counts towards the success of the project, and I wouldn't do it without their approval. Follow Kevin's example and come see it for yourself, have an actual conversation, see that good and important things are happening there, then make up your mind.You're always invited.
Hi Vee Anne,
Thanks for your thoughtful questions! Keeping it sanitary is basically my biggest priority, after making it safe. The fun will take care of itself, and you're right, there's work to do to make sure it's a comfortable and healthy place to visit. The ball pit will only exist for about a month or six weeks, so replacing the balls isn't really necessary or feasible. But I will be washing the whole site periodically, as often as I need to. And the vast majority of my work has been to make sure the house is structurally sound, including fixing an entire wall that has nothing to do with the ball pit but was very close to falling over onto an adjacent house that people live in (see facebook.com/ballpit for pictures). I'm working with a professional carpenter/builder to ensure that everything is as safe and sound as can be - we've noticeably improved the house from the condition it was in previously. I'm happy to show you if you're interested. I will personally be onsite at all times, and l expect everyone to behave appropriately much as people do in public generally - think of it like going to the pool; it sort of polices itself naturally, and there are lifeguards there to step in if need be. That will be the case here.
I totally understand your concerns. Like I said, all the fun, "nouveau naif" or otherwise, will take care of itself once its open. The job I've been doing now is to address exactly all the practicalities you mention, and more. It will be safe and comfortable for everyone. I hope to meet you there, either soon or when it's open very shortly!
Ralph, don't you have better things to pray for?
I'm sorry you all feel so negatively about the project, particularly because it hasn't happened yet and you haven't seen it. That's too bad - I hope you'll come when it's ready. I love my city too, and I don't think it is embarrassing or "un-adult" to start a conversation about blight using unfamiliar or unconventional terms - namely, a project that's fun, silly, and meant to transform a bad place into good one (not simply talk about how bad it is). Just because it's fun doesn't mean it's doesn't have a serious purpose and that it's silly doesn't mean it can't be thoughtful - they're not mutually exclusive. This a false dichotomy, and there are different ways to improve our city than the ones you've already decided are appropriate, adult, or not embarrassing. Why not experiment and try one out? That's what I'm doing.
Laura Fenn (and everyone else), you're more than welcome to come see the house anytime - you'll see immediately that the house will never be renovated because of its condition, only torn down. Furthermore, the owner is not interested in selling - I wish they would, someone could make a really nice home for themselves with the property. Sorry I've disappointed you. And kindlyoldlady, I wish my dad had the ability to fund it (not that he ever would), unfortunately that's not realistic in my family (he's out of a job); that's why I'm raising funds through Kickstarter like Kevin mentioned at the very beginning. If you wanted to contribute, we could definitely use it to help make the house a safe place to be.
Thanks for all your thoughts everyone - I hope answering your concerns will change the conversation to one that's less about me and more about Kevin's second question: isn't a ball pit better than a falling down house? I think so.
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