Villa Heights Turns Over A New Leaf: Community Garden Kick Off -

Villa Heights Turns Over A New Leaf: Community Garden Kick Off

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Charlotte, N.C. (WJZY) -- A neighborhood known for its problems with crime is turning over a new leaf.

"In the past, it was filled with drug users, a bunch of crime. Now, we've gotten rid of most of its crime. It's on its way to more positive than negative. The neighborhood is helping have an impact with that," said Richard Reese, an officer with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department. Richard has patrolled the streets here for 15 years.

Villa Heights is kicking off its first community garden, planting fruits and vegetables for a more fruitful future.

"We have a lot of families who have moved to the neighborhood, a lot of families who have been here for a long time. To bring everyone together is really important. To show we're not at odds, but working together for the good of the community," said Jill Vande Woude, a member of the Villa Heights Community Board.

A big part of the future she speaks of: the kids.

"I planted eggplants inside the garden. I like having good things to do instead of negative things," said 13 year old Azontie Cooper.

"It's a great summer activity for the kids. It also shows them responsibility. We can teach the kids a lot through gardening. Seeing their efforts go full circle, being involved in something that's bigger than them," said Jill, member of the board.

The neighborhood received a grant from the city for the garden, one more effort to transform it into a thriving community.

"A lot of new families have been moving to the area, a lot of younger families. I think that we really want to make this park a lifeline. With the Blue Line coming in, all the new developments coming to NODA, we want to expand this area to become better and better. We want people to get a community sense from Cordelia Park," said Jill.

Signs of a new beginning, one gardener at a time.

If you're interested in getting involved with the community garden, visit Cordelia Park on May 3rd starting at 9:00AM. The community will be meeting to plant more seeds.

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