Photos By John Hoff
Oh, sure, a few garden stones were ripped out to throw at police cars or whatever, but the flowers were unharmed because even the drug-dealing gangs respected the garden. After all, their own children helped plant flowers, side-by-side with the forces of neighborhood revitalization there at the intersection of Knox and 26th.
Now 26th Ave. N. is so peaceful that I often walk or bike where, at one time, many residents were afraid to drive in vehicles. Shot spotters, video cameras, dedicated police work, and just a little bit of silver lining from the dark cloud of the foreclosure crisis are all responsible for these positive changes.
The Jordan Garden was, however, always a humble little patch of ground. The efforts to plant and maintain the green space were, one might say, "grass roots." But now Jordan Community Garden is getting a dramatic makeover with help from Tree Trust and the Pohlad Foundation...
These photos show some of the people and good feeling apparent yesterday in the garden. From top to bottom, here's who's who and what's going on.
First, word is the old sign (created in approximately 2003) is not going ANYWHERE. Just because there are improvements doesn't mean everything changes.
Second, my son at the garden with the Mayor of West St. Paul, John Zanmiller. You might wonder why the Mayor of West St. Paul would be taking an active role in a NoMi community garden but, well, he gets to the Jordan Neighborhood pretty frequently and wears many hats.
In the next photo, Stu Ackerberg of the Ackerberg Group posing with my son. Stu has been doing incredible things to renovate West Broadway. But in our brief conversation, I also learned that (more importantly) he's a dedicated father.
The last photo shows Council Member Don Samuels, Terri Egge of the Pohlad Foundation, and a bunch of Tree Trust volunteers. The house in the background is 1716 26th Ave. N., the flashpoint of the Jordan Riot. The story of the riot has been told again and again, but each time I've heard the story from residents of the neighborhood, this particular piece of information has been emphasized:
Yes, the police made a mistake during the raid and a child was injured. However, drugs were dealt CONSTANTLY at the house and the people who lived there were affiliated with a gang. The Jordan Riot wasn't a "people's uprising" so much as criminal resistance against law and order.
So what happened as a result?
Click here for my editorial comment, in music.