St. Paul asking woman to remove decades of art from boulevard

A St. Paul woman’s yard has captured the imaginations of neighbors and art lovers for decades, but now it’s getting the wrong kind of attention.

The city has ordered her to remove just about everything in her boulevard between the sidewalk and the street.

Iris Logan’s yard is her 30-year art project, but a few weeks ago a city inspector saw not art, but a potential safety hazard on her boulevard.

A collection of mosaics, stones, and statues is Iris Logan’s way of greeting her neighbors with beauty.

"I hope when people pass by, they can get a sense of peace," Logan told FOX 9.

The 70-year-old built her front yard gallery over the course of 30 years until a St. Paul Department of Safety inspector took note this fall.

"He says, ‘I want it gone. I want the pot's gone, driftwood, the rocks, I want it gone,’" she said. "I said 'wait a minute.’"

A St. Paul woman’s yard has captured the imaginations of neighbors and art lovers for decades, but the city has ordered her to remove just about everything.

The city says boulevards should be clear of installations or obstructions that could impede access to buried utility lines.

They also sent written notice to 16 other properties on Sherburne Avenue.

Nothing on Logan’s property extended into the street or sidewalk, and Miss Iris says she’s seen similar boulevard decorations in other neighborhoods.

But the abatement order looms.

"I'm still nervous, can't sleep," Logan said. "I cried."

One of her daughters convinced her to file an appeal, but Logan has also started dismantling the installation in her boulevard.

Neighbors pitched in and she made a lot of progress until she started on the rocks.

"Then I realized the garden, the boulevard had been here, I put it in 30 years ago [when] I was younger – I can’t move the rocks like I could before," Logan said.

A lot of neighbors also don’t want to see her art disappear.

Justin Lewandowski started a petition asking the city to discuss allowing her to keep the installation; 600 people have signed on.

"This boulevard has meant so much to our neighbors," Lewandowski, an organizer for the Hamlin-Midway Coalition, told FOX 9. "It's meant so much for beautification, for walkability, for having pollinators, for connecting people."

Logan will get to make her argument at City Hall on Dec. 6.

If she loses, she’ll have until Dec. 21 to move everything.

Her neighbors’ petition also asks for a six-month extension, when the rocks won’t be frozen into the ground.