All I Want for Christmas

By on 8 December, 2014 in City Living, Sandra Nickel with 2 Comments

In the December 1989 issue of Garden District News (my neighborhood’s association newsletter), I wrote the following:

All I want for Christmas…

…is for all residents of the Garden District to be as proud of and dedicated to the preservation and improvement of the neighborhood as are those who have worked so hard to make the Association a real force to be reckoned with.

…is for that pride and dedication to show itself two ways: 1) by their support, in time and money, for our various projects; 2) by cared-for homes, trash- and vehicle-free yards and well-maintained sidewalks.

…is never again to hear East-siders say, “You live there?! Is it safe?”

…is never again to hear a District resident complain, ‘If I’d known about the Architectural Review Board, I’d have never bought in this area.’

…is instead for all Garden District residents to realize that our old houses and old neighborhoods are so special that their preservation benefits us all.

…is that someday the City Fathers will more fully understand that, too.”


Photo by dok1

Photo by dok1

It’s 25 years later. Most of those items remain on my wish list yet today.

  • As is the case with many neighborhood associations, the work of the GDPA is carried out by a handful of dedicated volunteers.
  • As recently as last week, one of the property owners on my own block—for the umpteenth time, I might add—proudly deposited his pickup truck in his front yard.
  • I still hear comments like, “You live there? Is it safe?” By the way, I regard this as thinly disguised racism. Our beloved Garden District is integrated. We like it that way. And that fact scares a lot of folks.

Please don’t think me negative. I love the Garden District and Midtown Montgomery. Would not live anywhere else even if I won a free “McMansion” in a more prestigious part of the city.

The problems we face in the Garden District and other Midtown areas are the same problems with which older areas and neighborhoods nationwide grapple every day. That’s why in 2015 I’ll be serving as President-Elect of the Landmarks Foundation: because preservation matters!

I’m also a realist. We have a long way to go. So again this year, Santa will get a missive from me that starts out, “All I want for Christmas…”

Sandra Nickel has been listing and selling residential real estate for over 30 years, most with an intense focus on Montgomery’s Midtown neighborhoods. Sandra serves on the Mid-Alabama Coalition for the Homeless, the Cloverdale Business Coalition, Historic Southview, the Volunteer and Information Center, Landmarks Foundation and her own neighborhood Garden District Preservation Association.

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There Are 2 Brilliant Comments

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  1. Cushing Phillips says:

    Congratulations, Sandra, on your additional responsibilities. When they align closely with your passion you will find them a grace-filled opportunity.

    Total side note: I wish the GDPA met at a later time, and on a different day of the week. I would like to be involved, but cannot.

    Merry Christmas!

  2. Janey Sabel says:

    Brava, Ms. Nichols. Your actions speak as loud as your words. Thank you for all the volunteer hours you spend helping our neighborhoods. I, for one, appreciate your efforts. Thank you!

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