Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

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July 6, 2014

Spalding Street family intent on creating community

Spalding Street couple determined to establish community in neighborhood saddled with a bad reputation

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Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — “The biggest thing that we could have people do to help us is just pick up the phone,” he said. “They can call anonymously and never have to use their name.”

For their part, the Updegraphs have little tolerance for the area drug dealers, users and trouble makers. Defying the “snitches get stitches” mantra of the street that trips up police investigations, the Updegraphs make no bones about their stance.

“This is my house,” Maria Updegraph said. “You’re not taking it.”

And they’re not afraid to stand up for themselves against the local criminal element, Maria said. 

“What are any of these people doing for me?” she asked. “They’re ruining my community. None of these people are going to do anything for me. It’s standing up and doing the right thing.”

The couple would like to see more police manpower on the streets in Lockport and Maria suggested to Eggert that the police walk the beat in the “Impact Zone” at the community meeting last month, something the chief said he’d take into consideration. 

“I have faith in them,” Maria said. 

“They just need to be paid well for their jobs because they’re up against things the Lockport Police were never up against,” James added. 

Maria, who has political ambitions in the city down the road, said she’s on a mission to return Lockport to its former glory. Instead of the negative aspects of the neighborhood, she wants to focus on the positives, like the sense of community that has started to build among the couple and their neighbors on Spalding Street. 

“Who wants to raise kids here?” she asked. “We do, because we know that it’s not going to stay like this because we’re going to make a difference. There’s so much potential here.”

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