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{Disarmed} Los Angeles, CA: Trust for Public Land Seeks toPurchase South LA CG

  • Subject: [cg] {Disarmed} Los Angeles, CA: Trust for Public Land Seeks toPurchase South LA CG
  • From: Adam36055@aol.com
  • Date: Sat, 15 Apr 2006 21:04:04 EDT

The first community garden that the Trust for Public Land ("TPL")  helped
save was the Clinton Community Garden in NYC, back in the mid  eighties. TPL
also  been active in saving a number of NYC community  gardens as part of the
recent NYS Attorney General's community garden  settlement.

Evidently, TPL, which is primarily involved in saving historical sites,
parkland, Civil War battlefields and the like in all 50 states is now getting
involved in the Los Angeles community garden preservation effort.

It is extremely heartening to see a major player attempting to save this
important Los Angeles community garden.

Adam Honigman
Hell's Kitchen,

Land Trust Seeks to Purchase South L.A. Community Garden
By Cynthia H. Cho, Times Staff Writer
April 15, 2006

Years of legal battles over a community garden in South Los  Angeles may
finally end if a deal for the Trust for the Public Land to purchase  the
comes to fruition.

The land has been entangled in one legal  wrangle after another since the
mid-1980s. The latest involves the pending  eviction of about 350 low-income
families, mostly emigrants from Mexico and  Central America, who grow fruits
vegetables uncommon in the U.S. b such as  spinach-like quelite, a
light green squash called chayote and  prickly pear cactus.


Bob  Reid, Los Angeles area director for the national nonprofit, said Friday
that the  trust had signed a contract this week with landowner Ralph Horowitz
that gives  it the option to buy the property.

The trust would buy about 10 of the  parcel's 14 acres, Reid said. And
Horowitz is set to give the remainder to the  city to build soccer fields.

Horowitz said Friday that he would have  used the property for an industrial
development, but agreed to give the  nonprofit the option to buy the land
because he thought its plans had merit.

"They agreed to turn it into a public-use property, to change it around  from
the way it's being run now," he said. "Now, it's not for public use. It's a
bunch of individuals who have individual plots and use it indefinitely for

Reid said it was too early to determine if the organization  would change the
way the community garden operates. But, he added, if the Trust  for Public
Land acquires the garden, the farmers would not be evicted. He said  the
nonprofit hopes to "preserve and enhance" the community garden.

"We  really want to grow the community," he said.

He would not say how much  the trust offered for the property b only that it
was fair market value b and  added that the trust has 30 days to raise the
funds. He said the organization is  looking for donors to contribute to the
purchase price.

The legal  disputes began in the 1980s when the city used eminent domain to
purchase the 14  acres from Horowitz in order to build a trash-burning
facility. But after  community activists defeated the incineration plant, the
loaned the  property to the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, which turned it
a community  garden after the 1992 riots.

The city sold the parcel to the Harbor  Department in 1994 as part of the
Alameda Corridor development. Only a portion  was used and the garden
But Horowitz sued over the sale, arguing that  he should have been given a
chance to buy back the land when the city scrapped  the incinerator project.

In a private meeting in August 2003, the city  sold the 14 acres back to
Horowitz for $5 million.

The farmers and their  supporters then sued the city for what they believed
was an unfair and secretive  deal.

That, in turn, led to a Superior Court order halting the planned  demolition
of the garden in 2004, but that order was reversed by an appeals  court that
summer. The farmers then petitioned the state Supreme Court, which in  October
declined to hear the case.

The American Community Gardening Association listserve is only one of ACGA's services to community gardeners. To learn more about the ACGA and to find out how to join, please go to http://www.communitygarden.org

To post an e-mail to the list:  community_garden@mallorn.com

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