Thank You Ginnie Tatum

Thursday, June 25, 2009

It was with sadness that I heard about the death of Miss Ginnie Tatum, who was the founding member of the Highland Park Neighborhood Association. It was not unexpected, as she had been ill for many years, but sad nonetheless.

I never knew Miss Tatum, but her legacy lives on in all of us who proudly call Highland Park home. It was she, back in 1991, who began noticing the steady deterioration of her once-beautiful neighborhood; this sprurred her into action - she distributed flyers throughout the neighborhood, urging residents to meet to discuss ways of stopping the slide into mayhem that, at the time, was plaguing Highland Park.

It was through her efforts and determination that the Highland Park Neighborhood Association was created, and this group of residents set about ridding their neighborhood of drugs, prostitution, and violence, to much success. In 2004, a new park was dedicated as Tatum Park in her honor.

Those of us who are relative newcomers absolutely owe our Highland Park existence to Ginnie Tatum, as it's safe to say none of us would have moved there if it hadn't been for her. Today, while we still have some of the similar issues that plague all neighborhoods, Highland Park is now a neighborhood of choice. My neighbors and I could have chosen to live anywhere in Chattanooga, but we chose Highland Park.

We are a close-knit community, and we keep a strong eye on our neighborhood. If there is trouble, we step in and solve it. We have one of the most active Associations in the city, and it's all because of the plucky determination of an elderly lady who wanted her neighborhood to be a better place for herself and her fellow and future residents. While there is still work to be done, she was successful.

Thank you, Miss Tatum, from dozens of people who never met you. Your legacy is immeasurable.

Jay Craven
Highland Park

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