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Green space turning into eyesore after community negligent

Esser Community Garden.jpg
Esser Community Garden stool set
Posted at 6:17 PM, Apr 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-20 18:26:39-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Organizers of a Buffalo community garden have had enough.

Enough of people destroying a garden that has been in the community for the last seven years, providing a place for kids to play and for neighbors to get fresh fruits and vegetables.

7 News' Pheben Kassahun learned Wednesday that the green space is quickly becoming the neighborhood eyesore.

"We do want people to have access to healthy, fresh fruits and vegetables. We really pushed to get the garden going," Esser Community Garden lead gardener, Alyssa Hamilton said.

At the corner of Esser Avenue and Henrietta Avenue sits the Esser Community Garden.

The community garden has nearly a dozen beds to grow fruits and vegetables, flowers, seating and a small pantry and library for the community to indulge in.

"There's that little library that you saw. It's more of a sculpture that has the tools that come off, so those tend to get thrown around. I have tried to repair them but it's too difficult," Hamilton said.

The lead gardener took charge of the garden right before the pandemic.

She said witnesses have told her people, and sometimes children, have come to destroy what is there. Quite recently, volunteer gardeners learned 13 patio blocks were missing from the garden, after Easter weekend.

"Someone did suggest this gravel which works more like a concrete. So, we can put that down along both of the other ends of the pavers to continue that walkway and still have it as a hard surface for wheelchairs, bicycles and strollers," Hamilton said.

She said it is discouraging to tend the garden while some members of the community continue to disrespect it.

"I can't police it 24/7 to make sure someone doesn't steal more throughout the night," Hamilton said.

Moving forward, Hamilton hopes to collaborate with local non-profits to whip it up in tip-top-shape, while sending a message that only good grows here.

"Regroup and see what else we can do, and still make it a desirable place to spend time in but also not desirable items to steal. We might have to look into securing things down a little better," she said.

After the Zoom interview, Hamilton shared with Kassahun this statement to remind community members the purpose of the garden:

"We have worked very hard to bring this to our community and provide fresh food to a neighborhood without a grocery store. We hope that you'll come to appreciate that and begin to come by for our events and to enjoy the crops. Let's work together to bring Riverside up and not tear it down!"
Alyssa Hamilton