In the seven years I have lived in Baltimore, I have seen amazing changes in and around my community, both where I live -Waverly, and where I work – Barclay/Harwood. However, so much of the progress is overshadowed by the demoralizing sight of derelict houses, plywood covered doors and windows and sky showing through destroyed roofs -visions from a war zone.
And based on the data map published this week in the City Paper – overlaying the homicides that have occurred this year -126 – on top of a map of the vacants in the city, those areas are war zones.
However, I want to talk about a garden.
At the end of Falls Street which is one block long and runs from 24th to 25th Street between Barclay and Guilford, there was an abandoned end-of -row property. During the 7 years I have worked on 25th Street, mountains of household goods were dumped in the back yard of the house and drug dealers regularly used it to store their wares and offer free samples to prospective customers. Not a pretty or encouraging environment for the little ones in the home whose backyard looked out on it.
Two months ago, Baltimore Housing brought in a demolition team of bulldozers and dumpsters and took it down and BAM! a pretty fenced-in garden space with pebble walkways and flowers and baby trees grew up in its place.
Imagination blossoms and neighborhoods feel empowered when they are given a blank canvas not crammed with falling down bricks and trash.
Let the demolition continue!