Uptown residents relieved as city finally clears out problematic ‘peace garden’ and occupants

It didn’t take long for residents in the besieged Uptown neighborhood of Minneapolis to react to word that the latest threat to the area was finally being cleared out by city and private security teams. The Uptown Crime Facebook page that serves as a hub for tracking violent crime in the area featured dozens of posts approving the action to remove the so-called peace garden and activists occupying it for nearly six weeks.

Good, because it doesn’t represent peace. It represents division, anarchy, hate and intolerance. (Jeffrey Hayes)

I couldn’t agree more. Quit pandering to criminals. Peaceful protest is one thing, but that left almost immediately. Start being proactive city leadership! (Laura Holmin Liesch)

Hardly a garden, hardly peaceful. I live here. Uptown is just trash, needs a major police presence. Destruction of private property, beating decent citizens, destroying businesses. Ya, that’s peaceful. (Bob Schmitz)

The bulldozing operation got underway just before daybreak with a contingent of police paving the way. They gave activists on hand time to remove their belongings before heavy equipment moved in to clear the lot.

The recently announced cancellation of the Uptown Art Fair due to safety concerns for vendors and visitors may have been the turning point. Whatever the reason, the Star Tribune says the owner finally got fed up with the property being used as a staging area to stir up trouble.

On Wednesday, the owner of the private property where a community garden was established announced they were clearing the area because continued violent acts, arson and makeshift barriers blocking access to Uptown residents and businesses has created an “unsustainable and unhealthy situation.”

“We previously committed to work to allow a community garden as long as it remained a safe and peaceful gathering place,” property owner Seven Points said in a statement. “Unfortunately, that has not happened.”

A handful of onlookers watched from across the street. But everything went smoothly at last report with a new fence installed to deter further incursions. Just to make sure, however, private security personnel will stake out the area for a week or two.

Steve Taylor of Uptown Crime summed up the community’s reaction as he filmed the clearing operation.

Everybody deserves to be safe in Uptown. Neighborhoods, businesses, workers have all been attacked and harassed by these people. Hopefully this will make things a little bit better for the community, bring some businesses back. It’s just unfortunate this couldn’t happen before the art fair. But better late than never, right?