“I’m trying to get [merchants] to understand they have to have a voice,” Drapkin said. “They need to be part of the solution.”
The Richmond Standard recently spoke with dozens of businesses along the corridor. Of those willing to discuss the matter, they all agree on some main points: Crime – particularly prostitution – needs to go. But the corridor’s popular, Latino-owned businesses must stay.
That’s exactly Drapkin’s mission – to achieve positive change without gentrification. But Drapkin has long-known that any plan, no matter how comprehensive, multi-faceted or community-driven, is easier to devise than to sell to merchants and neighbors.
“I’m a stranger and I have had to prove myself,” said Drapkin.