Community group raises funds after landscaping equipment stolen

BALTIMORE — The Lafayette Square Community Development Corporation is looking to replace landscaping equipment following recent thefts.

Eric Stephenson proudly walked through a dozen vacant city-owned lots on Friday with WMAR 2 News.

“We call it the bee lot because that’s where we keep all of our bees,” Stephenson said.

Stevenson is part of a community group that takes care of vacant lots.

Maintenance and mowing are only part of what the group does. It also provides jobs for local teenagers.

“We have a partnership with the city through the CARE-O-LOT program,” Stephenson said. “They compensate us for mowing the grass on the city grounds during the summer. Most of the money is used to pay the teenagers in the program.

Stephenson said his organization handles around 40 lots.

“It’s a wonderful thing,” he said. “Our young people learn life skills, and then we gradually teach them how to use garden tools and big mowers.”

Stephenson said they also learn the importance of accountability, showing up on time and managing to-do lists.

But recently, the organization suffered a setback.

In a recent tweet, Stephenson explained that their gear was stolen.

“They left weedkiller behind,” he said. “As you can imagine, cutting the grass with it is going to be tough. We had a commercial mower, but they took it.

The organization is now asking for the public’s help.

“We are taking cash donations to replace what we have lost,” he said. “People have also donated a push mower, but we really need something commercial sized.”

The work done by the organization helps reduce the number of 311 requests and helps DPW maintain city-owned land.

“In return, we not only keep the grass trimmed, but also plant things,” we really want to keep doing what we’re doing.

If you would like to help, you can contact us by email at [email protected]

Terri S. Tomasini