Our Save the Gardens Harvest Festival and Block Party on October 30, 2010, was a huge success. Over a hundred activists and property owners from across Mount Holly and New Jersey attended to show their support for the Gardens residents, whose homes are on the chopping block for private development.
Kids and adults alike enjoyed the various stations set up around the neighborhood. One station featured games and prizes donated by IJ supporters, including the appropriately-themed bean bag toss game, where players tried to knock down pictures of bulldozers mounted on wooden flaps.
Christina Walsh, IJ’s director of activism and coalitions, and IJ attorney Bob McNamara, led the exciting speaker lineup, training attendees how to be effective advocates for property rights and how to fight eminent domain abuse in the Gardens. Activists and attorneys from across New Jersey shared their own stories of eminent domain and encouraged the homeowners to continue their fight to keep what they rightfully own. A local pastor also offered words of encouragement to the residents, and local residents James Potter (president of the local group, Citizens in Action), Rosemary Roberts and Santos Cruz spoke about their own experiences being the target of the town’s program of destruction in the Gardens.
In between playing games and hearing speakers, attendees also enjoyed the abundance of food donated by local businesses who support the homeowners: hot apple cider, soft pretzels, pizza, subs, hot dogs, hamburgers, and lemonade were all there to satisfy everyone’s appetite. Chuck E. Cheese’s donated gift certificates to our drawing, and kids won a variety of exciting prizes. Nobody left empty-handed.
This outpouring of support rejuvenated the Gardens homeowners. The Castle Coalition will continue to work with Citizens in Action to fight this abuse of power in the coming months. Please keep checking back for updates on this situation in New Jersey.