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Lincoln Park Food Market Aims To Change Neighborhood’s Reputation

Photo caption: Residents attend Taste of Four Corners, a food market put on by the grass-roo...

Photo by Claire Trageser

Residents attend Taste of Four Corners, a food market put on by the grass-roots group Urban Collaborative Project, at the intersection of Imperial and Euclid avenues in San Diego on Friday, Dec. 5, 2014.

Away from San Diego's Balboa Park and December Nights, a different holiday market held over the weekend aimed to improve the Lincoln Park neighborhood's reputation.

The event, called Taste of Four Corners, was put on Friday night by the grass-roots group Urban Collaborative Project. It drew a crowd of 30 to 40 who ate from food trucks, shopped at local vendors and listened to live jazz from Musa and the Vibrational Tones.

Organizers Felicia Yearwood and Barry Pollard decorated a small empty space at the southwest corner of Euclid and Imperial avenues with holiday lights and lanterns, while shops including Gayle's Rum Cakes set up tables to display their goods.

The corner historically has had a bad reputation because of the number of homicides that have occurred there over the years, but Carlene Woodson, a San Diego resident who grew up nearby, said the area is changing. The Taste of Four Corners could help with that transformation, she said.

"I thought maybe there was a lot of anxiety about this corner because of the history of it, but it seems like people have come out and are dressed up, they put themselves together to come out and stand here on this corner," Woodson said.

Ehrren Lee Ajani, a San Diegan for the past 24 years, said he does not want to use the corner's gang nickname, "Four Corners of Death," ever again.

"It should be known for something better," Ajani said. "So I feel like this is a start."

As protests over police shootings of unarmed black men have filled the streets in major U.S. cities, including San Diego, Ajani said he was glad Urban Collaborative Project was working to make change in a different way.

"I'm a glass-half-full type of person," he said. "I don't think the protests are going to accomplish much. It stirs up a lot of emotions, tends to be negative and you can interpret it any way you want to. This sort of thing, you can build from this. We can do this as often as we like."

Organizer Pollard said he hoped to hold more markets at the corner in the future.

Photo caption: The band Musa and the Vibrational Tones plays at Taste of Four Corners food m...

Photo by Claire Trageser

The band Musa and the Vibrational Tones plays at Taste of Four Corners food market on Friday, Dec. 5, 2014.

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