Harrisburg activists plan next protest at property in Forest Hills

Harrisburg neighborhood activists who on the Fourth of July marched against absentee landlords and drug dealers are planning their next protest outside a property owner’s residence in Forest Hills.

Lori Davis, Butch Palmer, Phil Williams and Kelly McKnight, pastor of Bible Deliverance Temple, were among 13 residents who met Tuesday night and resolved to picket in front of the Lake Forest Drive home of John B. Weigle Jr., on Aug. 8 at 10 a.m.

Mr. Weigle, who sells insurance for Dawson Taylor & Company on Wheeler Road, owns the house at 223 Eve St., one of three properties targeted as a “nuisance” during the July 4 march. He did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment today, and efforts to reach him earlier this month resulted in a missed phone call.

During Tuesday’s meeting, Marsha Jones, music and outreach director for St. Luke United Methodist Church, questioned whether the group should try one more time to reason with Mr. Weigle. Mrs. Davis said she and others have been fighting problems with blight and crime for years, and they’re way beyond that.

“There is a group of us who are tired,” she said, “and this is what we’re going to do.”

Mrs. Davis, vice president of the Harrisburg-West End Neighborhood Association, said she has received more than 20 complaints about 223 Eve St., from surrounding neighbors during the past year and a half. According to the reports, an assortment of men who don’t appear to live there lounge on the porch and in the front yard day and night, sometimes walking to the corner of Ellis and Eve streets to make cell phone calls. Cars with out-of-county and out-of-state license plates come and go, and the property itself is an eyesore, Mrs. Davis said.

“These are signs – signs – of houses that deal drugs,” she said.

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