Can a neighborhood be rebuilt from a criminal activities zone into something positive and thriving?
Residents of the Park Avenue and Leavenworth area believe so and say the proof is already in place. Neighbors say every positive influence helps.
The area has a troubled past. Crimes include drugs, sexual assault, even murder, but people around here believe things are changing and a mural is part of it. Dedicated Thursday, it is supposed to be a sign that things in the area are headed in the right direction.
Police are still looking for the man suspected of two sexual assaults in the neighborhood. Residents say this is no longer the norm and today's picture of Leavenworth includes remodeled apartment buildings and artwork.
Artists Richard Harrison and Mike Giron painted the mural on the back of the Avanza Grocery Store. "We're trying to make the area appear beautiful because it affects the way people feel about where they are at the moment," said Giron. "If it looked like it was crashing into the ground then it would look completely different."
The mural makes graffiti less likely and the theory goes, a decrease in crime follows. The artists believe that is true and say they have proof of the first half of the theory.
"We even talked to some people who had tagged in the past and said they really appreciated the beauty of the wall and that they wouldn't be tagging this one for sure," said Harrison.