The intersection of North Lane and Powers Drive is a place where the efforts to build up Pine Hills are real and tangible.
The long-crumbling wall around the Breezewood subdivision was finally repaired last year with new concrete blocks, paid for with a $19,000 county neighborhood grant. Neighbors took part in a series of cleanup days, hauling away old sofas, mattresses and other trash too big for regular garbage-pickup days.
The corner is home to four churches, where some pastors see themselves as the last line of defense between local teens and the crime and violence that, fairly or not, dominate the way people think about Pine Hills. The churches run private schools, youth groups and free basketball camps.
Now the intersection, marked by all of those little signs of progress, is stained with yet another setback.
A week ago today a 15-year-old girl was in the back seat of her parents' minivan driving down North Lane. Danielle Sampson's family, which lives in Ocoee, had spotted a friend at a bus stop and was giving him a lift to his home in Pine Hills.
Then came the gunshots. Danielle's father turned on to Powers Drive and pulled over on a grassy shoulder in front of two churches. A bullet had shattered the rear window, and Danielle was slumped in her seat.
Now the Apopka High student and member of the basketball team is fighting for her life.
"It does hurt," said youth director Brad Prince of Orlando Baptist Temple, one of the churches at the intersection. "We get some positive momentum going, and it pulls us back again."
The shooting could have happened anywhere. But it happened in Pine Hills, where high-profile crimes reinforce preconceived notions.
All this came as Pine Hills was finally starting to earn some recognition for efforts to change its reputation.
The new Evans High School off Pine Hills Road opened in January and brought a new and sorely needed source of pride for the community. There was so much excitement that the community and school district organized Pine Hills' first parade in more than a decade.
Seville Place, an apartment complex across from Evans that harbored drugs and crime for decades and looked as ragged as a meth addict, is undergoing a makeover valued at more than $20 million.
The Pine Hills Redevelopment Business task force came up with a new marketing slogan, "Pine Hills on the Rise," and the Pine Hills Community Council put up billboards to get the word out.
Pine Hills is certainly on the rise, but its climb is slow. It's not yet at a place where the drive-by shooting of an innocent girl is perceived as an isolated incident.
The Well of Hope church Pastor DaRon Dixon, who helped organize a vigil for Danielle last week, said the recent arrest of three teens in a man's beating death and the killing last month of an aspiring musician have brought a streak of violence to the community.
"It happens so frequently many people are desensitized to it," Dixon said. "We're in what I would call an urban war."
He's hoping that Danielle helps more people recognize the problem and not just turn the other way.
"Things like this can appear to be a setback, but we believe it's going to galvanize people even more to get back out and make things happen," Dixon said.
And it will be a test of the community's resolve to keep Pine Hills on the rise.