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West Nashville neighbors say disturbing sign is 'ugly side of gentrification'

(Submitted to Fox 17 News)

A sticker reading 'Poor people get out' was posted on a Metro street sign along Charlotte Avenue in West Nashville on Thursday.

Some neighbors said it's the ugly side of gentrification. The sign mysteriously disappeared a few hours after someone alerted FOX 17 News.

Raphael Crawford said the street sign looks a lot different on Thursday than it did when he photographed it Wednesday.

"I was astounded," Crawford said. "My heart sank just believing that someone was bold enough to post something like that. That sends a very negative, very strong message about how someone feels about those who are impoverished."

The sticker reading "Poor people get" is gone, but a Facebook live video posted on Tuesday got thousands of views.

"I feel like they want us out of here," said Nashville Resident Angelica Johnson. "They want us out of here. They want to build this 'it city' and we're not part of that."

"That sign is very hurtful to me because they’re saying poor people should leave, but this city is making poor people," said Johnson's friend Kutonia Smith Bond. "Everything is going up except the minimum wage."

Like many older parts of town, new homes and businesses are rapidly changing parts of West Nashville along Charlotte Avenue.

"Maybe four and a half years ago, the building were standing in used to be the Wonder Bread Hostess Distribution Center and there wasn't a lot going on Charlotte Avenue." said Business Owner Jennifer Derryberry Mann.

Derryberry Mann didn't see the sign posted near her yoga studio but is disturbed by its message.

"In my heart of hearts, I would love to think that someone was putting it out to raise awareness about poverty to be provocative to try and help jar us out of the busyness of day-to-day lives," Derryberry Mann said. "My fear is that it’s just the callousness and a lack of regard for neighbors."

No one is sure who posted the sticker or who took it down, but it has people talking.

"I think it absolutely has a lot to do with gentrification and the attitude that it brings that somehow we’re better than you...[you] don’t belong here because this is now our place," Crawford said.

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