Neighborhood Garden Helps Calm Area Crime 4-06-2011 - KCTV5

Neighborhood Garden Helps Calm Area Crime 4-06-2011

Right now, there is just a lot of dirt filling some local plots but with the gorgeous spring weather and the hard work of neighbors, there will soon be gardens taking shape.
Marcella Morales-Gaona is one of several residents who have found a sense of pride seeing their hard work pay off. This is the second year for the Switzer Neighborhood Farm at 20th Street and West Pennway. Officers Matt Tomasic and Chato Villanlobos teamed up with the Westside CAN Center to get the project started.
Morales-Gaona has lived on the Westside for more than 20 years and has made new friendships thanks to the new urban community garden.
"There's neighbors I didn't know before, and I know them now," she said.
Tomasic and Villlanlobos said they remember all the problems they saw on the corner when it was occupied by a vacant building.
"There were vagrants sleeping here with drugs and assaults," Tomasic said.
Villanlobos said he enjoys bringing his daughter to the garden.
Morales-Gaona said crime on the corner has gone down and it has been replaced by community crops.
She said she enjoys most is working with the curious children in the neighborhood.
"They stand around the fence, and we get them involved," she said. "I say, 'You want to water plants?' Yeah, kids love water."
All the work is done by volunteers, and they use a set of colorful rain barrels to supply all the water. They get manure for fertilizer from the horses in the mounted police unit.
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