"It happened on St. Valentines Day," says Teri Stewart, an organizer who's working to preserve the green space at DeKalb and Gordon avenues where hearts suddenly appeared over X's on trees. "I don't know who did it, but I think it was done to protest the clear cutting for new condos. And to show that there are a lot of treehuggers who object to cutting trees in a healthy green space."
The lot -- which is actually two separate, privately owned pieces of land -- is one of the last green spaces on DeKalb Avenue. The lot has been somewhat controversial. After finding out that the space was up for sale to develop as condos, area residents tried to raise funds to purchase the property and preserve the space as a park. They were unable to raise the cash and are now in litigation with the city of Atlanta, says Stewart, who's representing the DeKalb residents in the lawsuit. The lawsuit argues that the city didn't uphold its tree protection ordinance and is knowingly non-compliant with state and federal laws concerning the protection of a wildlife habitat. Stewart and others have now been fighting for six years to preserve the lot as open green space.
"We love our trees, we love our oxygen and we love our wildlife," Stewart says.
"We have documented that it is an established wildlife space and there is no demand for new condo developments on DeKalb Avenue. As a matter of fact, the development one half block away is currently in foreclosure."