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The NYC Garden Insurance Press Release

  • Subject: [cg] The NYC Garden Insurance Press Release
  • From: Adam36055@aol.com
  • Date: Sun, 9 Apr 2006 10:12:48 EDT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday,  March 23, 2006
No. 17
http://www.nyc.gov/parks

City Drops Liability  Insurance Requirements For Community Gardeners

Parks & Recreation  Commissioner Adrian Benepe announced this week that the 
City would now extend  municipal liability protection to community gardeners, 
thereby no longer  requiring garden organizations to pay for private insurance 
policies. Previously  gardeners were provided with affordable group insurance 
by the Neighborhood Open  Space Coalition (NOSC), but, after years of rising 
costs, NOSC could no longer  bear the financial and administrative burden. The 
announcement was first made to  a gathering of hundreds of community gardeners 
at the annual GreenThumb "Grow  Together" conference last Saturday at Hostos 
Community College.

"This  decision affects thousands of gardeners who maintain over 500 gardens 
on  City-owned land," said Commissioner Benepe. "We look forward to providing  
gardeners the support they need in order for our gardens to bloom for years 
to  come."

Gardeners have been required to carry private liability insurance  since the 
beginning of the GreenThumb program in 1978. The GreenThumb program is  funded 
entirely by Federal Community Development Block Grant monies, which are  
disseminated throughout the City's low-income communities.

For years,  NOSC provided insurance to each garden at the cost of $250 per 
year. However,  after a series of manmade and natural disasters, the cost per 
garden rose to  $425 per year.

"We want the gardeners planting flowers, not planning bake  sales to pay for 
liability insurance," said Edie Stone, the head of  GreenThumb.

Since August 2005, the City has explored alternatives to the  group insurance 
provided by NOSC. According to NOSC, only seven claims have ever  been filed, 
and only three have resulted in payments to injured parties.  Moreover, the 
City has repaired sidewalks and/or fences at dozens of gardens  over the last 
year to reduce the likelihood of future injury claims.

In  the future, claims against the City resulting from injuries suffered in 
gardens  will be treated the same as claims arising from incidents on all other 
City  land. The City is self-insured and pays valid claims out of current tax 
 revenue.


______________________________________________________
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