Pat Mueller is the owner of Heritage West Properties in the Martin Drive neighborhood and is very knowledgeable of the surrounding area. Mueller has lived in the area since 1986 after seeing the promise and inner beauty of the buildings and surrounding neighborhood. She has a strong focus on revitalizing the neighborhood and hopes to do so by influencing the use of space, whether it be in parks, vacant lots, or existing buildings. Mueller advertises homes to possible tenants and fights to bring prosperous businesses into the community.
Pat's understanding of neighborhoods and the built environment help elucidate how the built environment impacts the social and political aspects of neighborhood life. Spatial contagion, spillover effects, or spatial interdependence are terms social scientists and geographers use to understand how one geographic area effects, influences, or shapes another geographic area close by or far away. She influenced the area herself in 2002 by buying a crumbling corner store in which to set up her office. She thought the building was detriment to the community; it was in disrepair and the phone booth outside was linked to crime. She fully renovated it, replacing much of the interior and exterior. Fixing this store up created a desirable place to run a small business and a hub for new activity; one building can start the revitalization of the whole area.
While Pat describes physical boundaries isolating Martin Drive to protect the neighborhood from crime, she recognizes that the power of positive thinking is also needed to bring about changes in the community. While the “compactness” of Martin Drive facilitates identity, positive thinking will create stronger ties between them. Negative conceptions are merely temporary bonding agents.
Mueller is aware of the misconceptions of the area surrounding Vliet Street and is of the opinion that it stunts the growth of the Vliet Street. She hopes that by changing the way people think about the neighborhood, people and businesses will realize its potential.
Pat Mueller, interviewed by Jared Schmitz, James Wall, Di Tang, June 2015
Pat Mueller, interviewed by Godson Mollel, June 2014
Neighborhood identity matters
A compact neighborhood
The old zoo used to have many activities