With our neighborhood focus being the OMI district this year (more here), I thought a personal perspective of this diverse ‘hood might be interesting to all of you that haven’t yet visited this area. Meet Connie, one of our house Construction Captains (now in her 6th year!) and our favorite event volunteer bartender! I had asked her a few questions about her neighborhood and here’s what she had to say…
How long have you lived in the OMI? I have been a resident of the Ocean Ave. corridor for more than 26 years. In that time I have seen a number of significant changes, most of which make the area more desirable.
If you were to describe the OMI in 2 sentences, what would you say? The neighborhood is ethnically diverse, and is home to people from all walks of life. Originally a blue-collar neighborhood, you can now find a good mix of professionals, multi-generational families, retirees and service employees.
As a tour guide for your neighborhood, what are 3-5 great things the OMI can boast about? About a decade ago, beautification began along Ocean Ave., when palm trees were planted and bulb-outs were created to quiet traffic flow and assist pedestrians using the busy avenue. The K-Ingelside is a major streetcar route, serving City College and Ocean Ave. on its way downtown. The neighborhood boasts good public transportation, and it is also convenient to major freeways and state routes. Ingleside got a modern new library in 2009, which has proven to be a base for neighborhood activities.
Currently Ocean Avenue has no large commercial chain stores. However, there are a number of small shops that serve the needs of the residents. Fruit Barn is a regular stop for fresh produce and other goods. It stays open on major holidays, much to the relief of holiday cooks who may need one critical ingredient. Java on Ocean has a broad customer base. At almost any time of the day you will find most of the tables and comfy upholstered chairs filled with students, seniors and other locals.
What do you hope for in the OMI?One thing the area currently lacks is a major supermarket. A Safeway at the intersection of Jules and Ocean closed in the early 1990’s. Lucky used to have a store on Alemany Blvd., but that closed almost a decade ago. Now a large development is underway on Ocean Ave. between Plymouth and City College, which will be anchored by a Whole Foods Store.
The area continues to improve and adapt to the needs of its residents. Although not as fashionable as some parts of San Francisco, OMI is a place where everyone can live comfortably. Residents of the OMI enjoy the best of both worlds. Although they live in San Francisco, they enjoy a suburban lifestyle.
Thanks Connie! This year she’ll be mentoring a new Construction Captain on Rebuilding Day (Saturday, April 30th) at the OMI Family Resource Center – I hear they have great plans for a child-friendly backyard! If you’d like to get involved in our 22nd annual Rebuilding Day, please contact Valerie@rebuildingtogethersf.org.