Members of the North Minneapolis community spent their Saturday morning planting a garden on a street corner notorious for crime.
The corner of Lyndale and Broadway is known as a place of pain and violence.
The community hopes to plant a new seed to bring peace to the Northside.
“We hope we can plant seeds of healing, joy and peace and also create life in this place,” said Edrin Williams, senior pastor of Sanctuary Covenant Church.
Williams is at the forefront of a hot spot of violence in North Minneapolis.
The Sanctuary Covenant Church is a short walk from the corner of Lyndale and Broadway, where gunshots and sirens go hand in hand.
“It’s a regular occurrence. We are by no means isolated from the challenges our city has faced in recent years,” Williams said.
Williams said it was heartbreaking to witness ongoing violence, but he approaches the issue with compassion.
“When you hear the gunshot, you think of the person on the other side. What kind of desperation are they facing that would make them think this is the best way to solve the problem or respond to it? ?” Williams said.
The church and ‘Love MPLS’ are teaming up to disrupt the cycle of violence and change the narrative.
“It’s been proven here in Minneapolis and other cities that when we take spaces that aren’t typically maintained and start caring for them, it impacts spirit, mood and place. “Williams said.
About 30 volunteers spent their Saturday sprucing up the Merwin Liquors parking lot.
Raised beds and flowers spread throughout the area, halving the number of parking spaces.
The nonprofit also closed the Broadway entrance to the liquor store with concrete barriers for added security.
“Besides discouraging loitering and some of the other negative behaviors that have happened in this batch, but in an artistic and creative way,” said Love MPLS board member Andrea Lee. “A lot of sad and tragic things have happened here. Good things can happen here too and there can be change.
Leaders view the community garden as a hub for healing and an opportunity to turn the page and start a new chapter on the Northside.
“I would love to see families riding bikes and people being able to live and enjoy their city without worrying ‘If I’m here too long a shooting might happen that might affect me,'” Williams said.