HOUSTON, TX (KTRK) — Neighbors in Houston’s Fifth Ward said a community garden has become a disruptive property.
“This is a community garden planted here by ex-Councilman Jerry Davis,” said resident Rodney Thomas.
Thomas lives just off the fenced lot on Leffingwell Street and said he’s only seen one community event, a pumpkin patch.
“When they had this event, they left all the gourds that they got from HEB there. That’s when the rodent problem started,” Thomas said.
And opposite, neighbor Angel Farias is fed up.
“This property has been a nuisance since I’ve lived here,” Farias said.
Both neighbors said the property had been abandoned and neglected for two years, resulting in rats and a flea infestation.
“I mean just the amount of flies coming off that property was bad,” Farias said.
The property is owned by the Houston Land Bank, an organization separate from the city of Houston that works with the city, county and school district to improve neighborhoods.
According to the current City Councilman for District B, the Houston Land Bank has an agreement with Jerry Davis as the garden manager.
But neighbors said the fenced yard has become a personal dumping ground for Davis.
“This man once had over 100 chickens here,” Farias said.
“He stored cattle manure,” Thomas said.
Neighbors said the rodent and flea problem exploded from the rotting pumpkins to the overgrown property and chicken waste.
Rodney said pest control services have already charged him more than $2,000 and they would offer even higher rates to continue treating his yard.
“The pest control gentleman said the only place they’ve seen anything like this is a stockyard,” Rodney said.
Davis told ABC13 over the phone that he started the garden in 2020 to grow food for the elderly and to work with the local elementary school.
But the educational partnership was not continued this year.
He said he last distributed tomatoes and okra in August and plans to flip the raised beds in the fall.
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Davis admits he was quoted by BARC Animal Control for the chickens, which he said he brought from the garden.
He has no pictures of the work he says he did, but the neighbors have plenty, including what the garden looked like until recently, a huge, overgrown lot.
Eyewitness News reached out to Houston Land Bank for answers. It said the garden is on its radar and is working to correct it.
Meanwhile, these neighbors said the city of Houston was involved in mowing and upkeep, and even improved the property’s drainage.
“There’s a school down the street. Children run here. said Farias.
We have reached out to the mayor’s office to inquire about the property’s history with the city, but have received no response.
Harris County Public Health offers you the ability to report a public nuisance through a mobile app. You can submit the problem area through This website.
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https://abc13.com/fifth-ward-community-garden-neglect-houston-nuisance-property-abandoned-lot/12292392/ Houston Fifth Ward neighbors say the Leffingwell Street Community Garden on Leffingwell Street is now disruptive property