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Community Rallies to Save 70-Year-Old Woman’s Beloved Garden from City Removal

Iris Logan, a 70-year-old woman from St Paul, Minnesota, is facing the possibility of being forced to remove the many stones, statues, and art pieces she has collected and displayed in her front garden after 30 years of accumulation. The garden, which has become a local landmark, has been the subject of a recent city inspection, which deemed it a nuisance and a hazard to city maintenance.

According to the city’s Department of Safety and Inspections, the garden’s numerous planters, wood, metal cans, large rocks, and other debris exceed the city’s code and pose a threat to the city’s infrastructure. Casey Rodriguez, a spokesperson for the department, explained that boulevards should be clear of obstructions that could impede access to buried utility lines and compromise the clearing of snow in the winter. Rodriguez cited Ms Logan’s garden as an example of the type of obstruction that needs to be removed, stating that 16 other properties on the same avenue received similar notices.

However, Ms Logan is refusing to comply with the order, citing the city’s own actions as the reason for her collections. She explained that she was forced to create the garden in the first place when city workers digging up her street during a road repair project exposed the roots of a tree on her property. Ms Logan brought in bricks and dirt, planted flowers, and added stones, which eventually led to the creation of the unique and eclectic garden.

Ms Logan, a former cotton sharecropper from Mississippi, has a passion for rocks and has been collecting them for years. She recalls bringing rocks home from her travels and her daily walks around the neighborhood, often stopping to pick up rocks that catch her eye. Her collection has grown over time, and she has come to see it as an extension of herself and her art.

Community Rallies to Save 70-Year-Old Woman’s Beloved Garden from City Removal

The issue has been taken up by the city council, with Ms Logan appealing the order in a handwritten note filled with passionate arguments. She argues that her garden does not pose a hazard and that the city’s actions are an infringement on her right to artistic expression. In a statement, Ms Logan expressed her desire to make a stand for the next person, saying, “I just want to make a stand for the next person.”

The community has rallied around Ms Logan, with a petition supporting her efforts drawing 150 signatures in just hours. Justin Lewandowski, a community organizer who lives near Ms Logan, has called for the city to clarify its rules regarding portable planters and supports Ms Logan’s right to express herself through art. The issue is increasingly being seen as a matter of identity and community engagement, with many residents viewing Ms Logan’s garden as a symbol of their neighborhood’s unique character.

The fate of Ms Logan’s garden remains uncertain, with the city council set to take up the matter on December 6. However, one thing is clear: the issue has brought attention to the importance of artistic expression and community engagement in urban planning. As Ms Logan’s case highlights, the line between creativity and nuisance can be blurry, and it is up to the city to balance its concerns with the needs and desires of its residents.

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