In Amanda Huckins’ neighborhood, people hang laundry on their patios.
Some say it’s tacky. Others call it eclectic.
Maybe it’s just resourceful, she says, drying your clothes and towels and things in the sun, rather than plugging in the dryer in your apartment complex.
Huckins lives on the edge of the Near South and Everett neighborhoods, a couple of blocks from the Capitol, just a few hops from where the governor could call home, if he did.
“My intuitive sense is it’s always been a lower income neighborhood and a lot of people have limited resources, but we’re also super resourceful,” she said. “So you see people walking places. You don’t see people defaulting to needing a bunch of expensive stuff. You see people doing things that are thrifty.”
She's one of Lincoln’s millennials, in that young, professional province approaching the age of 30, the generation that rehabbers and developers like to think might move in and change the face of a neighborhood.
Her Nebraska experience started in early high school, in Gretna, then she migrated to Lincoln for college. She left town as soon as she graduated and headed to Portland, Oregon, then back after three years. And for five years, she’s moved in, out and around the Capitol environs.
“I’m one of those people who can say, I move a lot but I always stay in the neighborhood,” she said.
With no car, no bike, she walks everywhere. Her work is 26-minutes from home, at Prescott Elementary School, where she’s a paraeducator.
Rather than a career hunt, she prefers just working and having time to pursue other inspirations. She helps run a place called The Commons, on 14th and B streets, a community-supported experiment for volunteers, performers, workers and just generally creative types.
Huckins uses the space for neighborhood organizing, "We are Vital," so-named because she got tired of hearing people say her neighborhood needs to be revitalized, like it’s dead and needs to have life pumped back into it.
The people there are the planters of what's great about the area, she said.
“We’re eclectic. We’re artsy. We’re interesting. We’re affordable. We’re walkable. We’re all these great things.”
If developers come in and install a class of people with more money and displace those people already there, she said, "those developers are harvesting our crop, ... and they’re reaping the benefits and we're not anymore."