A controversy has developed over a community garden in the uptown section of Harrisburg.
On Wednesday, Harrisburg City Council President Wanda Williams had workers clear out a garden on a plot at the corner of Sixth and Curtin streets -- and garden owners say they weren't notified.
Williams said she had received several complaints about the garden before requesting it be removed.
"The weeds were overgrown," said Williams. "They weren't maintaining it. And it obscured people's view from illegal activity and that's a high crime area."
But the head of the group Green Urban Initiative (GUI), Jason Zubler, had a much different perspective.
"We've received nothing but compliments," he said. "Many of the gardeners have told me that people have stopped by and complimented them on how the garden looked."
The garden was developed by GUI, which said it has tended to other such gardens around the city. GUI obtained use of the land through the city's Adopt-a-Lot program.
GUI members say they were shocked when they heard their garden had been bulldozed.
"Through the lease and through the city's own Adopt-a-Lot program, we sort of expected to be notified of anything like that was going to happen," said Zubler.
Williams said she did provide notification.
"In May I told him, if you don't keep it well-maintained, I'm certainly going to take it down because I'm getting too many complaints," Williams said.
GUI members vented their frustrations at their meeting Wednesday night at the Midtown Scholar Bookstore. They want some kind of reparations from the city.
"How is the city going to respond to this gross act of negligence on their part to bypass due process?," one woman asked.
"To have somebody come in when we have an agreement is unacceptable," said another man.
But resident Sylvia Regal, who also spoke at the meeting, disagreed and said it was mostly a garden of overgrown weeds.
"It was an eyesore," she said."You may have one or two people that said it was a garden, but they didn't have to live next to it and they didn't have to look at it every day they came home from work."
GUI members said they did talk with some neighbors around the garden, but concede they could have talked with more. They plan to go door-to-door in the future but said what the city did by clearing out their land was much worse.
Tuesday, May 21 2013 2:12 PM EDT2013-05-21 18:12:56 GMT
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