Homeowner demolishes abandoned home, plants garden

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- A South Bend resident decided to help remove blight from his neighborhood. Samuel Valenzuela bought a problem property from the city, paid the back taxes, demolished it and planted a beautiful garden for the community in its place.

"Everybody likes it. Everybody loves it. It's become the center of the neighborhood," said Valenzuela.

The slice of heaven sits on a triangular lot near the corner of Riverside and California avenues.

He turned an eyesore into something beautiful.

"You couldn't see from the street anything but overgrown trees, these overgrown trees and weeds and English ivy growing everywhere," said Valenzuela.

The property is right behind his own property. He uses the extra space for a much needed garage.

He says the garden has increased his property value.

"Just think of the fact of who's going to invest in this street over here if this is an abandoned property and looks terrible, right? Now if you make it into something nice, it becomes a center for the neighborhood," said Valenzuela.

A young family, now living in Seattle, returned to visit the old neighborhood. They said the first thing they noticed was the extra green.

"I don't imagine us ever moving back here but if we did, we love this neighborhood. It's got a lot of memories for us and to see this happening it's exciting," said Amanda Fielder.


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