Maureen Tate

MaureenTate 001

Maureen Tate, the block captain of the 4800 block of Florence Avenue, has been creating and maintaining gardens in the Cedar Park community since 1985.

Maureen and her husband moved into their house on Florence Avenue 33 years ago. Quiet, frank and very knowledgeable, Tate has witnessed the neighborhood’s hardships and successes, and believes that gardens have made a difference.

Tate’s first garden project was created in response to a murder on her street, which occurred next to a vacant lot.. The vacant lot was attracting drug activity. “The corner lot was trashed all the time and it was dangerous. The neighbors were feeling really threatened.”

So she and her neighbors cleaned the lot and created Florence Garden over several years. Tate laughs as how little she knew about gardening. “Everything I know about gardening, I learn from there.”

The mid-80’s marked the beginning of a difficult time for many neighborhoods in Philadelphia. “We refer to it as ‘The Crack Period’.” As the garden developed, that corner felt much safer. She felt empowered, “our garden made us feel we were reclaiming that space and staking our presence.”

Tate maintained Florence Garden for 20 years. “It was beautiful.”

Cedar Park is now experiencing a period of more stability and reinvestment. “It’s such a relief to see happy people on our street.” Tate remains very active on her block as well as with Cedar Park Neighbors. She continues to garden in public spaces, organizing crews to build and maintain flower beds around Cedar Park.