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People of Glassell Park: Jennie Cooks

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My name is Jennie Cook and I'm a caterer in Glassell Park. I have a catering company that specializes in vegan cuisine and innovative home style.

Well, I've been in Glassell Park for six years. I've lived in Echo Park for almost thirty years.

We used to go to a big K-mart, which was down the street here, and the street was always very dark and foreboding. When I found this place, five or six years ago, it was more of a thoroughfare with a lot of commuters coming from Eagle Rock and Pasadena. In the mornings it was very busy and it seemed more alive.

I personally like the location because it's four miles from my house. It's very convenient and it's centrally located to all the freeways which is great for all of my serving staff. It's also really easy to get downtown, over to Pasadena, and into the valley.

It does have its fair share of gangsters. It's dirty and you have to watch your back. But at the same time, people are getting friendlier. We have a great relationship with the fire department and our next door neighbors.

There are also a lot of schools around. I actually ran into a parent that I knew from preschool who is one of the teachers. She was on the street putting out fliers, hustling, trying to make the school better.

The interest is there, but it's very disjointed because it is mixed-use. It would be different if that whole building right there were all apartment buildings or there was a little park in there. But really, it's that shock building, the apartments, the schools, a few small businesses, a couple more apartments, and then it's broken up with Verdugo or Eagle Rock boulevard. It's really going to be hard for this particular thoroughfare to build a community feel. Not that it's impossible, nothing's impossible.

As far as crime goes, it's still kind of a dicey neighborhood. I watch my back when I leave at night.

I think there's always room to meet more people, make more friends, and increase the sense of community involvement in the neighborhood. But like I said, it's hard, this is a funny neighborhood.

I think it's really important to redevelop the river, really important. The parks are great, and I think it's great to have them for the community. I think it's more important to establish the river as an environmental landmark and environmental cause. Water is going to be our issue.

The above interview is transcribed and edited from the following interview:

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