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The last thing Warren needs is another parking lot full of junk

The last thing Warren needs is another parking lot full of junk

This tree has a hollow in it, where feral cats have taken residence. Kittens are visible in the bole.

On today’s front page of my local paper, the Warren Weekly, there is a picture of a dejected-looking man named Tom Turmel. The reason he is sad is because the city may allow a trucking company to pave over some greenspace to make a storage lot for tractor-trailers. In this greenspace, which has been there for decades, Mr. Turmel built a secret garden.

I have been walking around my part of the City of Warren for over a year, and have become quite familiar with the local sights, secret paths, and hidden mysteries. Never did I realize there is a natural greenbelt with some natural wetlands, a mere 5 blocks from my house. In all my walking adventures over the past two years, I never once walked back behind the metal shops, trucking yards, and other industrial buildings to see Tom Turmel’s secret garden.

The greenbelt in question had originally been wetlands and an 18 acre pond, according to residents who remember it from the 1960s. In 1968, the pond was plowed in by the city in response to mosquito concerns by residents along the street behind it. After that, it became prairie with a few acres of natural wetlands. Many birds and animals make their homes in the greenbelt. Now, many animals including squirrels, rabbits, woodchucks, and feral cats make their home in the natural refuge.

Tom Turmel planted this weeping willow in 1984.

Two days ago, I took a walk with my girlfriend and my kids. As we were walking towards Mound Road, I got inspired and said, “there’s woods or something back here, let’s go this way,” and we turned towards the greenbelt. As we walked through the last of the parking lots to get to the green area, my son noted, “this looks like an industrial wasteland, like in a video game,” but when we hit the greenspace, they were thrilled. “I had no idea there was nature this close to our house!”

Turmel's yard is full of hidden pathways and historical treasures

Tom Turmel, Warren, MI

Tom Turmel in his garden

We traversed the greenbelt and noted that some people along Blackmar (the residential street backing the greenbelt) had made gardens or horseshoe pits, or simply put two lawn chairs back there to enjoy a tiny bit of peace and quiet, a natural refuge in a city where trains, factories, parking lot sweepers, and construction go on all night and silence is rare and precious.

Then we came upon what I now know is Mr. Turmel’s garden. It’s incredible. It’s a mystical space with vine-covered arches, welcoming willows, rock cairns, and magic. This is the kind of place fairies and toads meet, a refuge where long-buried imagination and wonder spring forth—the kind of places that makes an adult want to take his shoes off and lay in the grass under the trees and tell stories. So badly did I want to go in there, and my kids were fairly dancing to sneak in, but we knew it was private, and moved on after admiring it for a few minutes.

Today I got the paper and read the cover story. I became so angry that I was nearly shaking.

I have a very hard time being an ambassador for my region. Over the last six years, I have brought hundreds of people to Warren and the Detroit area every year for the Expo Icrontic and various other reasons. Each time a new person comes, they are skeptical. They see the blight, they see that a great deal of Warren is actually just an industrial wasteland. They see that the roads are pothole-ridden and many of the houses are foreclosed and there are liquor and check cashing places every block. They see that there is nowhere to walk, no downtown, and no pedestrian-friendly businesses. They notice that not once have I ever taken a group of 50 people to a restaurant in my own hometown for the annual Tastes of Detroit Food Tour, because there are no worthy restaurants. They say “Royal Oak is nice!” or “Ferndale is cool!” but nobody in all my years of trying, has ever said “Warren is a nice town.”

At this point, Warren is merely “where I live”. I’m stuck here, because I owe over $120,000 on a house that is worth about $60,000 now, due to the massive decline of property values in my city. Certainly this is mostly due to the major economic recession and real estate crash that is a national problem, but of course some of that has to do with declining quality of life in the City of Warren.

This is what borders the greenbelt. This is what the "new development" will inevitably look like.

Warren is the third largest city in the State of Michigan. At over 34 square miles, there is not one nature preserve. I’ll tell you what there are a lot of though: parking lots and storage areas.

I went to interview Tom, and he graciously showed me around his wonderful garden, enthusiastically pointing out different artifacts and trinkets. Each flagstone, each brick, each wooden post had a story. Turmel can tell you where they came from, when he brought them there, and why he moved them. A rotting wooden window frame from an old farmhouse is supporting some vines. “I’m just gonna let that return to the earth,” he says with a wistful look on his face.

Tom’s philosophy is one of gentle nurturing. He lets nature take its course, and merely suggests that perhaps this tree should be here, or these vines should come up here, or perhaps this flowering bush would like less shade. He cringes at using anything unnatural in the garden. “These planters, I normally wouldn’t have these because they’re old tires turned inside out, and I hate rubber. But they belonged to my neighbor and she liked them so much and gave them to me, I just had to use them. So I painted them green and in the summer, the flowers hang over and you can’t really see the planter anyway. They’re from the 1950s.”

Feral cats have taken residence in the bole of a tree. “I let the cats go free, and they pay me back by taking care of rats and rabbits. That one, she’s about 15 years old, but she has a litter every year. I promised my mother on her deathbed that I would take care of the cats. I know she was worried about them.” I stared down into the hollow, and a fuzzy head and bright blue eye peered back at me with a tiny mewl.

The trees are spectacular. A massive weeping willow that is something of a centerpiece in the garden is a mere 26 years old. “I stuck a willow branch in the ground in 1984, and here it is today. Willows grow fast and die young.” Other willows in the yard are equally impressive and beautiful, and some are only 10 years old.

Turmel's backyard

My girlfriend, originally from Traverse City, just moved in to Warren. We were walking the other night, exploring her new city, and we walked by a giant empty lot, surrounded by a long barbed wire fence. “What is this?” she asked. “A storage lot that’s been empty for my entire adult life,” I replied. On 10 Mile Road, between Mound and Sherwood, there is a giant empty lot. It is acres upon acres of nothing but dusty, weed-choked broken concrete, with a few rusty trailers parked way in the back, next to a spare, decrepit block building of some sort. It has been empty for as long as I can remember. This is the City of Warren. Decrepit, with a veneer of progress in the form of a shiny new City Hall and some new cop cars, but anyone can see the giant pink elephant: Square miles of vacant, destitute and unused space. This is the future of a city that makes bad choices.

When I read in the paper that some business wants to tear down Tom Turmel’s garden to build a driveway that leads to yet another storage lot for trailers, it makes me want to give up hope. I can imagine the scene: “economic development” in the form of destructive and needless paving, and yet another spot where old and rusty, graffiti-ridden trailers will be stored for some company whose owner has probably never set foot in Warren, Michigan. Residents along Blackmar, including Mr. Turmel, will have the joy of even further declining property values, noise, and a new place for people to loiter and cause trouble. Broken glass, spray paint, trash, and worse will end up taking over a space where birds, frogs, rabbits, squirrels, and human beings used to go for a bit of peace and joy.

Every brick in Turmel's yard has a history, and Tom will happily tell you all about where things came from and their historical significance

I will say that our mayor, Jim Fouts, has gone on record stating that he is absolutely opposed to the idea, although he hasn’t visited the site or Tom personally yet. Still, this gives me a modicum of hope and makes me think there is at least some beacon of human decency and sanity in our city government.

However, if this happens—if our city planning commission allows this travesty, this shameful thing to happen—I will have to ask the question: Who was bribed? Who would allow this? Only a local official in the pocket of some mogul would let something this profane happen in our community.

Icrontic HQ is in Warren, Michigan. I own a business in and am a resident of this city. Tom Turmel, we are behind you.

Comments

  1. ardichoke
    ardichoke This whole situation stinks and makes me profoundly sad. What makes me even more sad is it reminds me of my home town of Saginaw. Same stupid shit, different location. Seems like Michigan cities just can't get it right.
  2. fmueller
    fmueller Great article! I hope it will help to preserve Tom Turmel's little paradise.

    As an aside, I live in Kent, OH, between Cleveland and Akron, and clearly another rust-belt town. Our savior is Kent State University with a nice, green campus. A lot more could be done but the city is making some smart choices to create a greenbelt along the river that can be used for recreational purposes by local residents. I've been walking my dog there for years, but since the city has started cleaning up a bit, I noticed that a lot more people are using it this year. A lot of money seems to come into town from the Feds via the recovery act or whatever it's called.

    Anyhow, all over the north east of the US so many old industrial areas are laying barren that cutting into any remaining green space seems like a sacrilege, yet most of the building still starts by cutting down trees...
  3. BuddyJ
    BuddyJ Who owns this land? I assume it's not Mr. Turmel. It's cool that he's taken such good care of somebody else's lot.

    Is it zoned residential? If it is, I'm sure the citizens in the area could make a solid case to the City Council or whatever you've got.
  4. clifford_cooley
    clifford_cooley That is sad, I wish you guys luck on preserving the land.
  5. Nikki Stephan Tom's garden looks magical. What an amazing secret nook in a very unexpected place! Hopefully Mayor Fouts lives up to his words and doesn't let Tom's garden be destroyed. I also hope other Warren residents are as outraged as you are and plan to contact the mayor's office to voice their opinion!
  6. Thrax
    Thrax This the best, most inspired piece I've ever read on Icrontic.
  7. primesuspect
    primesuspect
    Buddy J wrote:
    Who owns this land? I assume it's not Mr. Turmel. It's cool that he's taken such good care of somebody else's lot.

    Is it zoned residential? If it is, I'm sure the citizens in the area could make a solid case to the City Council or whatever you've got.

    As far as I know, the city owns the land.
  8. Becks-Davis
    Becks-Davis What a fantabulous place! Kudos to Mr. Turmel on creating this piece of magic.

    I grew up in Warren and, as a youngster, I thought it was swell. I lived a perfect suburbia life.

    Then the school system took away my lunch hour and instead we had a 15 minute "nutrition" break. We had to pay to be play sports at a public school.

    The cuts were severe and my parents decided that my brother and I had to go to private schools.

    That led to us moving out of Warren and to the West side.

    I've never looked back.

    I hope the city helps save this gem.
  9. jokerz4fun
    jokerz4fun I had the pleasure of meeting this man. And I have to say I was fascinated by his life and the stories he shared with me and prime. It would be a shame to lose this land to another parking lot.

    My hat goes off to Brian. There aren't too many people who would reach out their hand to help a person out nowadays.
  10. Winfrey
    Winfrey
    Thrax wrote:
    This the best, most inspired piece I've ever read on Icrontic.

    I agree, Brian you did awesome on this article.

    I really hope you guys can rally the troops on this and get Warren going in the right direction. Put some fear into your city council, let 'em know what is important and what is DEFINITELY not.
  11. pigflipper
    pigflipper I have a horrid, sinking feeling that the Golden Rule will win out here.

    I really really hope that is not the case.
  12. Snarkasm
    Snarkasm
    pigflipper wrote:
    I have a horrid, sinking feeling that the Golden Rule will win out here.

    I really really hope that is not the case.
    Which one: do unto others as you would have them do unto you, or he who has the gold makes the rules?

    Much luck to Mr. Turmel. I hope you guys can save it.
  13. Cheri I, too, live in the south end of Warren. I bought a house here 11 years ago, and am often ashamed to tell people I live here. Every time the city adds a library, pool, shiny office building north of 12 Mile, I wonder, "what about the southmost two miles of the city?" Warren is good about handing out blight tickets in my neighborhood, but I never see a police car cruising by to check on things. It's very frustrating, and I'd love to move out to a better city.
  14. carol Thanks to Mr. Turmel there is a space to enjoy a little bit of peace and quiet. He should be commended for his efforts. I don't live in Warren, but would like to visit his garden. Today, Earth Day, is the perfect time for the city to notice his beautification of the space around him and increase it. No city needs more junkyards.
  15. Dominique Great story, Brian. I hope drawing attention to Mr. Turmel and his garden will result in a happy ending here. I treasure the tiny green spaces around my own town and cringe every time someone wants to "develop" them or put in more cement.
  16. WagsFTW
    WagsFTW I agree that Earth Day is the perfect time for respecting this beautiful space surrounded my industry.

    What an amazing article. It is so sad to think that this proposition might pass.

    Fight it, Brian! Contact the press. This article is an amazing piece, and the more people in Warren read it, the more people you can get to back up Tom. Turn your passion into a fight.
  17. Hockeytown Blood I hope the city sees the value in a citizen and resident's initiative, but am also reminded of the Heidelberg Project. Good luck Mr. Turmel and if Warren is as short-sighted as Detroit, I hope it doesn't dissuade you from continuing elsewhere!
  18. Joe If the land is privately owned and he has been tending to it for 15 years or more, he has a pretty good claim at ownership, or at the very least an easement to continue using the land as a greenspace.
  19. BuddyJ
    BuddyJ Regular meetings of the Council are held at the Warren Community Center auditorium, located at 5460 Arden (which is south of 14 Mile Road and west off of Mound), on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month at 8 p.m.

    Show up.
  20. primesuspect
    primesuspect Oh I am definitely going to be there. I already told Tom I was going.
  21. QCH
    QCH You know... June 24th should be a Council meeting. 60 EPIC folks all showing up WOULD be cool. :D
  22. Jason
    Jason The best thing you can do is what you're already doing: make as much noise about this as you can, have people call and write the City Council everyday, have them show up and make their case in person, try to get in touch with the mayor, etc.


    Good luck.
  23. clifford_cooley
    clifford_cooley Perhaps sending the local newspaper a link to this thread. It couldn't hurt, especially if it attracts attention to Icrontic.com.
  24. James Marshall Great article Brian. What a shame about Warren. They'd pave over rosebeds full of cute puppies if it saved them $1 on the bottom line...
  25. Johns People, first of all Mr. Turmel trespassed, this property is owned by a private development company, not by the city or the government. How would all of you feel if someone took a piece of land you own and use it as theirs? It’s really ridiculous that people can be so narrow minded, this guy TRESSPASSES.
    Second, I did not see any magical or beautiful garden. I see a bunch of junk all over the place.
    I love the nature and the environment, but we should ask all the facts before judging.
  26. fmueller
    fmueller
    johns wrote:
    People, first of all Mr. Turmel trespassed, this property is owned by a private development company, not by the city or the government.

    For me that's impossible to know, but if you are right, legally Mr Turmel has of course no leg to stand on. If a development company owns the land and wants to turn it into a parking lot, it can insist on the garden being bulldozed, and that's that.

    Yet, there is still some hope that people could appeal to reason. For a development company, it would only matter to generate the dollars that the parking lot would create. They might not really care about a parking lot, and they would certainly not care if the parking lot ends up being in the exact spot where Mr Turmel created his garden. If the city could compensate the development company in some other way, or give them another piece of land, they'd likely leave the garden alone. Seems like a good time for the city council to look for some creative solutions!

    A city council's role is to serve the people in their community, not to maximize return on investment. Also, laws like the ones about trespassing were created to serve the people, not the other way around.
    johns wrote:
    It’s really ridiculous that people can be so narrow minded, this guy TRESSPASSES. Second, I did not see any magical or beautiful garden. I see a bunch of junk all over the place.

    Whether Brian's photos show a magical garden or "a bunch of junk all over the place" lies in the eye of the beholder. If you let only your view stand, and deride all other views, that would be narrow minded!
  27. Johns I respect everyones' opinion, the bottom line is that gentlman planted on private property. What and whom gives him the right to do that??! I too want a nice piece of land to plant flowers and have a garden to get away to, does that mean that I can just go and start planting on private property?? No it does not, lets not forget please, that this is private property. If I had a piece of land I would protected and I think the owner has the right to do whatever he/she desires.
  28. Snarkasm
    Snarkasm Look, if you have proof that it's private property, let's see it. Until there's proof one way or the other, it's just speculation and nobody can logically have a position on the legality either way.
  29. Winfrey
    Winfrey Snarkasm:
    The proposed facility is planned for a 5.6-acre piece of undeveloped land purchased, according to Warren assessing records, by Warren Commerce Center LLC in 1999 for 180,000. The land sits behind commercial frontage along Mound between 10 Mile and Stephens, and to the rear of residential properties west of Mound.

    from the newspaper Brian linked in the article
  30. Snarkasm
  31. fmueller
    fmueller
    johns wrote:
    I too want a nice piece of land to plant flowers and have a garden to get away to

    If you live in Warren, you might want to attend the next city council meeting. One possible outcome I could see would be the establishment of a green belt as a community project. You could volunteer to plant some flowers. That way many people could get a garden to get away to!
  32. Canti
    Canti Even assuming it is private property. He planted a tree in 1984 and it was allowed to grow undisturbed and unnoticed for all that time. That alone makes me think that whoever owns the land wasn't getting anything out of it and likely won't miss something they didn't use for 2 and a half decades. Probably a bad analogy but consider this. You inherit a house in a rundown neighborhood that is steadily declining with no signs of improvement. You never visit it for 26 years. One day you decide to go turn it into a vacation home only to find it's been broken into many times, robbed, vandalized, has squatters living in it, and fire damage caused by said squatters. How much do you honestly care?
  33. CB
    CB I'm not sure about Michigan, but here in Ohio, if you maintain a piece of property for 13 years as if it belongs to you, and during that time, no claim to the property was made by its owner, then you get to keep it.

    A friend of mine had to deal with this when he found, during a land survey, that a neighbor's fence had been built three feet on his side of the property line. He tried to reclaim the property, but the state gave the three feet to the neighbor because he had built the fence over 13 years earlier, and no one had ever noticed that it was wrong.
  34. Jamie Favreau Thank you for bringing this up. I NEVER read my Warren Weekly. I am really bad at that.

    I hope you can help save the land even if it is on private property.

    I have lived in Warren my entire life. I am about a mile down from you and I know it isn't like it was when I was a kid.

    Things have changed from then and haven't improved.
  35. BuddyJ
    BuddyJ If there really are wetlands on the property, contact the DEQ and let them make it official. It'll limit the use of surrounding property and they'll probably crap their pants if somebody tries to build a parking lot next to them because of the water runoff and grading. http://www.michigan.gov/deq/0,1607,7-135-3313_3687-24316--,00.html
  36. primesuspect
    primesuspect You know, according to the Michigan DEQ maps, those ARE wetlands.

    macomb%20wetlands.warren.jpg

    Hmmmm. I'll be sure to bring that up to the Mayor.
  37. primesuspect
    primesuspect I just sent an email to the Michigan DEQ to see if that is a protected space. Thanks for the idea, Pete!
  38. Jason
    Jason
    johns wrote:
    People, first of all Mr. Turmel trespassed, this property is owned by a private development company, not by the city or the government. How would all of you feel if someone took a piece of land you own and use it as theirs? It’s really ridiculous that people can be so narrow minded, this guy TRESSPASSES.
    Second, I did not see any magical or beautiful garden. I see a bunch of junk all over the place.
    I love the nature and the environment, but we should ask all the facts before judging.

    Yeah, a piece of property that's remained undeveloped and untouched by Warren Commerce Center LLC for over a decade; a piece of land that would be just another overgrown eyesore in the middle of Warren if it wasn't for Mr. Turmel.

    What's narrow-minded is thinking that the urban sprawl that is it Warren needs another fucking parking lot. As far as I'm concerned, that land should belong to the community and be turned into a park.
  39. fmueller
    fmueller The wetlands could be your savior! Here in Ohio you are barely allowed to cough anymore within a mile radius around any wetland. I think sometimes it's a bit overdone, but in this case it could work in your favor :thumbup

    As an aside, there is a documentary our there by Cleveland Water in which, amongst many other things, they complain about a problem of dogs defecating next to Cuyahoga River; ie in the wetlands. Around here there are pickup bags all along the river so you can clean up after your pooch. Yet wildlife is so abundant that every few yards you risk stepping in deer poop, and last Fall I gave up using one of my favorite walking path because it was covered ankle deep in geese shit. Luckily that path floods in winter, so in spring the mess was gone, but if all the dogs in Kent relieved themselves into the river all year round, they wouldn't pollute the river more than those geese did in a week :tim:
  40. MrTRiot
    MrTRiot It makes me sad that an industrial city would want to get rid of green space, privately "owned" or not. My city here in Ontario green space is over 10%...and in some places, it's alot higher.

    The city regularly spends mass amounts of money creating and maintaining it. Why would Warren want to get rid of it? It makes no sense...

    Green space is good for business. If your city looks and smells like a crispy spring day more people will come spend there money...

    Industrial space is productive and profitable to certain individuals but ugly and smelly to the rest of them....


    I wasn't joking about the mass amount of green space
  41. Optix
    Optix Great article. If this were happening in my home town I would be in that garden snapping picture upon picture and sending them out to members of the city council as well as gathering signatures to keep that eye sore out of your area.

    Public awareness will likely be the downfall of this storage area project.

    My home town in New Brunswick, Canada is pretty lush and green by comparison to many larger cities so I am very lucky and thankful for that although we do have one of the largest (if not the largest) oil refinery in North America right in our back yard.

    With the way the world is going we need as many green spaces as we can get.
  42. Gargoyle
    Gargoyle Let me know if you want to pursue the wetlands thing more. A friend of mine works in wetland issues and I could ping him for some details.

    In the meantime, I recommend people getting more upset. At issue here is whether or not city government is empowered to protect individual landowners or the public as a whole. This sort of thing happens all the time. You can see a dramatic example in the movie The Garden, which is available for instant streaming on Netflix.

    Another thing you can do is engage in a little bit of counter-mapping, which is just a way of making sure your view of the place is noticed. Have you geo-tagged your photos of Turmel's garden and other areas of the green space? If those pop up when people look at the place in Google Maps or search for photos of Warren in Flickr, that'd be sweet. You could also tag the location in Wikimapia.
  43. primesuspect
    primesuspect Here I am pinging you for more details on the wetlands thing. I very much want to push that angle.
  44. Kwitko
    Kwitko A scenario known all too well around these parts. Brian, fight like hell to keep that garden alive.
  45. primesuspect
    primesuspect My letter to the planning commission:

    To Whom it May Concern,

    Regarding "SITE PLAN FOR NEW INDUSTRIAL BUILDING AND TRACTOR TRAILER PARKING; Located approximately 711 ft. north of Stephens Road and approximately 563 ft. west of Mound Road; Parcel No. 13-29-227-031; Section 29; Kemp Building and Development Co. (Thomas R. Kemp"

    Hello,

    My name is Brian Ambrozy. I've been a resident of Warren since 1998. I am very concerned about the issue referenced above: both as a citizen, a resident, and a parent.

    I want to give my children a sense of pride in their community, and it's very difficult to do that when a majority of neighborhoods are peppered with commercial blight, industrial wreckage, and liquor and lotto stores everywhere. Imagine my surprise and the delight of my children when we discovered Tom Turmel's garden in our very own neighborhood. They were thrilled, and they started telling everyone about it. That's the first time I've ever seen my kids proud of their city.

    I wrote a story about it after reading the Warren Weekly a few weeks ago, called "The last thing the City of Warren needs is another parking lot full of junk":

    http://life.icrontic.com/article/the-last-thing-warren-needs-is-another-parking-lot-full-of-junk/

    I am trying to get this story, and my letter, to Mr. Paul W. Clark, but I cannot find an email address anywhere for him on the City of Warren website. Please let me know how I can get this story to him and encourage him to read it (and the comments!). The story generated a lot of buzz in the Detroit blogger and social media community, and is a perfect parable for a larger issue in the Detroit region. Questionable "commercial interests" which benefit very few people (those with money) against the needs of the community lead to continuing loss of pride and culture for the citizens. Please don't let Warren become "just another crappy michigan city that makes stupid and terrible decisions". Give us something to be proud of.

    Thank you for your time,

    Brian Ambrozy
    Resident
  46. Cliff_Forster
    Cliff_Forster I love and admire the grass roots approach Brian.
  47. UPSLynx
    UPSLynx Looks good man, you got this.
  48. primesuspect
    primesuspect I can't wait for the minutes to the meeting to come out. I want to see exactly which planning commissioners voted "yes" on the parking lot. I will be contacting the four of them personally.
  49. Cliff_Forster
    Cliff_Forster
    I can't wait for the minutes to the meeting to come out. I want to see exactly which planning commissioners voted "yes" on the parking lot. I will be contacting the four of them personally.

    Definately, share the names here. You could head a massive Icrontic letter writing campaign. We will blow up their in-boxes.
  50. Gargoyle
    Gargoyle I don't know if the wetland angle will be easy. I talked to a friend of mine, and he said that a lot of the wetlands data out there is from aerial/satellite photo interpretation, and hasn't been field checked. That jibes with the data disclaimer on their page and the fact that they've got most of the town marked as hydric soils. It sounds like the Michigan DEQ needs to do a field check in order for it to have any legal authority.

    I wonder if the history the residents told you would be enough to get the DEQ to check out. I don't know anything about the prospects of gaining protection or restoration, but maybe I'll bug my friend some more or do some research. I can't help but wonder if the choices are between bulldozing his garden to build a parking lot or flooding his garden to restore a wetland, though.
  51. primesuspect
    primesuspect about 250 feet north of his garden are actual wetlands, though. reeds, boggy soil, frogs, etc.
  52. fmueller
    fmueller Well written letter, and I like the online way for rallying support. However, when you approach politicians and council members, I don't think email will have the impact that you need. You might find some useful suggestions here:

    http://www.ted.com/talks/omar_ahmad_political_change_with_pen_and_paper.html

    I think that dude is onto something!

    Best of luck

    Frank
  53. primesuspect
    primesuspect Update!

    The council met and voted again, and the proposal got shut down 6-2.

    article here.

    This is good news for now, but Kemp (the owner of the land) sounds like he's gonna get catty and pissy about marking the land as private property now. The battle is won, but the war isn't over.
  54. Winfrey
  55. BuddyJ
    BuddyJ Great! Next step is to get Warren to build parks for all to enjoy.
  56. Ryder
    Ryder link not working for me.
  57. Jay Since you oppose economic develpment and the creation of new jobs. Can you survive eating grass?? I can't believe that the owner is going through this for a piece of land that he owns.. TERRIBLE.
  58. BuddyJ
    BuddyJ
    Jay wrote:
    Since you oppose economic develpment and the creation of new jobs. Can you survive eating grass?? I can't believe that the owner is going through this for a piece of land that he owns.. TERRIBLE.

    bam.gif
  59. primesuspect
    primesuspect
    Jay wrote:
    Since you oppose economic develpment and the creation of new jobs. Can you survive eating grass?? I can't believe that the owner is going through this for a piece of land that he owns.. TERRIBLE.

    A complete load of crap.

    Read the article: It was going to be paved over and used to store JUNK for a trucking company.

    Don't pull that "IT WILL CREATE JOBS" card either. Paving lots and storing shit doesn't create any fucking jobs, get real.

    And yes, clearly I "oppose economic development". Fucking moron.
  60. Thrax
  61. Koreish
    Koreish
    Jay wrote:
    Since you oppose economic develpment and the creation of new jobs. Can you survive eating grass?? I can't believe that the owner is going through this for a piece of land that he owns.. TERRIBLE.

    I know lets tear down Yellow Stone and put in a giant fucking parking space, no the nations largest parking space. It'll be awesome think of all the jobs and revenue that it'll create. Yeah sure a little bit of the environment will be destroyed but that's insignificant to the all might dollar isn't it. Besides it's not like people actually enjoy the scenery or landscape, oh heavens no.

    Jeebus Christ people are fucking dumb these days.
  62. ardichoke
    ardichoke
    They paved paradise and put up a parking lot,
    With a pink hotel, a boutique,
    And a swinging hot spot.
    Don't it always seem to go
    That you don't know what you've got till it's gone?
    They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.
  63. _k
    _k ^I hate that song so much it SUCKS
  64. Thrax
    Thrax And, yet, it's strangely apropos.
  65. Tushon
    Tushon
    _k_ wrote:
    ^I hate that song so much it SUCKS
    U mad, umadd
  66. Kwitko
    Kwitko
    Jay wrote:
    I can't believe that the owner is going through this for a piece of land that he owns.. TERRIBLE.

    I know, right? It's insane to fight for what is yours.
  67. QCH
    QCH I agree that it kind of sucks to own land and be told you cannot use it for what you want. But in this country, life isn't fair. You cannot build a factory in a residential area. You cannot build a school in a heavy industrial area. It's called Zoning.

    Now this guy's land MAY be zoned for this "parking lot" but he basically abandoned it years ago. The city should have just said, "sorry, you lost the right to the land since you haven't cared for it in years. We'll buy it from you at fair market value." Which, these days means a few grand. Make it a city park and lease sections to folks like a community garden. Lease = $12 a year or something.
  68. Tushon
    Tushon
    QCH wrote:
    Now this guy's land MAY be zoned for this "parking lot" but he basically abandoned it years ago. The city should have just said, "sorry, you lost the right to the land since you haven't cared for it in years. We'll buy it from you at fair market value." Which, these days means a few grand. Make it a city park and lease sections to folks like a community garden. Lease = $12 a year or something.

    There is a town somewhere (I don't remember where, but I saw it while watching Capitalism: A Love Story) that introduced a law which gives owners 2 years to fix up their properties or the confiscate and demolish the buildings, then turn the area into greenspace or community gardens, etc. I'm unsure if business properties are subjected to the same rules, but any residential area certainly can be taken. I love it.
  69. clifford_cooley
    clifford_cooley
    Tushon wrote:
    There is a town somewhere that introduced a law which gives owners 2 years to fix up their properties or the confiscate and demolish the buildings, then turn the area into greenspace or community gardens, etc. I'm unsure if business properties are subjected to the same rules, but any residential area certainly can be taken. I love it.
    I wish they would do that in this town that I live in. This is not the worst looking town, our city council members do play a big part in the cosmetics. However there is still buildings/homes that have been vacant and run down for years.
  70. Koreish
    Koreish Wrong!!! As an American it is my right to own property regardless of what it looks like, that is if it is personal. Now if a publicly traded corporation owns a piece of property and they don't do anything with it then maybe the government can take it and make green space or whatever out of it.

    However if I personally own a plot of land I don't think that the government at any level can take that from me. They can buy it sure but taking it is against the constitution.
  71. clifford_cooley
    clifford_cooley
    Koreish wrote:
    Wrong!!! As an American it is my right to own property regardless of what it looks like, that is if it is personal.
    As an American (If thats the way you want to look at it), it is my right to live in a community that doesn't look like shit because my neighbor is neglecting his property. Your property value is also appraised by the appearance of your neighbors. If you want to neglect your property, you can purchase out of city limits.

    Back to the parking lot full of junk. If it is not usable, it should be recycled and not stored on millions of parking lots across the country.
  72. ardichoke
    ardichoke
    As an American (If thats the way you want to look at it), it is my right to live in a community that doesn't look like shit because my neighbor is neglecting his property. Your property value is also appraised by the appearance of your neighbors. If you want to neglect your property, you can purchase out of city limits.

    This goes double in cases where someone who doesn't own the property has been taking care of it for years (apparently) while you have been neglecting it. If you ask me, the person who has been putting in the time and effort to care for the property should own it, not the person who neglected the property until the chance to make a quick buck off of it rolled around.
  73. Koreish
    Koreish Please note that I said personal, the property in question in this case is owned by a corporation. If they have failed to do anything with it, for a significant amount of time, while others have worked hard to make it look nice and beautiful and clean then by all means I think that they lose the rights to own it. Especially if it is smack dab in the middle of a residential zone.
  74. ardichoke
    ardichoke Actually, IIRC (it's been a while since I read the articles on this), the property is owned by a private individual who is attempting to sell it to a company to turn into a parking lot.
  75. primesuspect
    primesuspect That is correct: The property is owned by an investor; a man who bought it and did nothing with it for some amount of years (over 10, if I remember correctly), and then when a trucking company wanted to use it for junk storage, he wanted to pave it and lease it to them.

    He wouldn't name the company who wanted to lease it; that is the reason two of the council members gave for voting "no".

    That means he had something to hide.
  76. BuddyJ
    BuddyJ That doesn't mean he has something to hide Brian. It's standard practice to not name lessees until the documentation is signed and finalized. I came across it all the time working at the newspaper with the urban developments and tax incremental finance districts I had to cover. They do this to prevent competitors from coming in and cocking things up. Because property changes hands so often and so easily, and because of the economy, no deal is done until it's signed-sealed-DONE.
  77. Optix
    Optix Great news that this was shot down, even if it is temporary.

    My wife and I always see vacant lots or condemned buildings and immediately think green space. We are very lucky to have the many green spaces that we do in our city but it doesn't change the fact that more are needed with the way some are treating this planet.
  78. Bambucha Green is nice. Taking other peoples property isn't. Condemn the property, pay the going price for commercial-undeveloped land. Or re-zone to semi-agriculture with or without right-of way access to surrounding properties to prevent land speculation. Simple. Unless you(the property owners) have collusion with some city councilmen. Depending on the acreage, people could rent and create small gardens and have a farmers market ala SIM City.
  79. MaMaCella Tom has been fixing up people's properties since he was 15 or 16. He finds the worst kept property in a neighborhood and finds out that the person is elderly or sick, and he starts cleaning it up.He has done this many times for many people. I know-he did it for my parents about 30 years ago. A home that was basically a blight on a neighborhood turned into a pleasant place. And he charged nothing.If you think his secret garden is just a bunch of junk, you have not seen it. It's really magical!
  80. Ryder
    Ryder Did this become a parking lot?
  81. primesuspect
    primesuspect No. It's still there :)
  82. Alexander Where is this are located at exactly?
  83. primesuspect
    primesuspect It's in the greenbelt between Blackmar and Mound.
  84. Tushon
    Tushon "Located approximately 711 ft. north of Stephens Road and approximately 563 ft. west of Mound Road"

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