Lisa Finaldi

Lisa FinaldiI have to say, growing up in the suburban area in New Jersey, I never had a sense of community like I found when I moved here. My family is Italian and very large, and that was your community, not your neighbors necessarily. And so we were just really just taken by the sense of community and how people truly believed that their community was their family and their desire to improve the neighborhood, and just the passion for homes and for community.

Liisa: What does that mean, community? It’s kind of a vague term. Give me some concrete examples.

Lisa Finaldi: Well, the great one is really how we ended up owning our first home. So we lived across the street from a house that was rented by students who lived at St. Augs before they had a male dormitory, or it was overflow probably for male students. And one day, they just up and left. All of them. And the door was wide open. And no one ever came back. And so I asked people who were involved in the neighborhood organization if they knew anything about the house, and Ames Christopher, who maybe was the president at the time, said well, let’s look into this house, and let’s find out more about it. And through that conversation with him, Brian and I bought our first house of our lives, and the neighborhood helped us by purchasing the house for cash, and then gave us 30 days to get a loan. We were first time homeowners. And so that sense, that, you know, who were we? We were just people who had moved here from Buffalo, New York! (laughs) And suddenly the community was helping us buy our first home. So I think that kind of trust and neighborliness was terribly impressive to us.

Lisa Finaldi and her husband Brian Starkey first moved into Oakwood in 1985. They currently live at 702 North Bloodworth Street. Over the years, as an activist, Lisa has been involved in helping clean up crime on the western edge of the neighborhood, develop plans for the business district around Seaboard, as well as a longterm vision for downtown traffic patterns that are more conducive to pedestrians. She has recently help spearhead City Farm, an urban farm along the north side of the neighborhood which brings hundreds of volunteers downtown to roll up their sleeves, get dirty and learn about urban gardening.

To hear some excerpts from an interview with Lisa, press play below. Lisa Finaldi

Saturday, July 20th, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized

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