Community Gardens vs Housing - Large Loss in the Bronx
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> From: dave.lutz@TREEBRANCH.COM (Dave Lutz)
> Subject: CYBERGARDENS: Officials Back Housing Over Bronx Gardens
> Date: Fri, 15 Dec 2000 09:40:06 -0500
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> News from the CYBERGARDENS mailing list
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> > December 15, 2000
> > Officials Back Housing Over Bronx Gardens
> > By BARBARA STEWART
> > The City Council Land Use Committee voted yesterday to bulldoze 10
> > gardens on city-owned land in the South Bronx, including one that
> > neighborhood residents planted 33 years ago, to build 204 apartments for
> > moderate-income homeowners.
> > But supporters of the gardens, including Council members and South Bronx
> > gardeners, expressed optimism about saving the gardens when the issue
> > before the Finance Committee and the City Council on Tuesday.
> > And several Council members vowed to push forward a bill that would
> require a
> > thorough review of each of the more than 600 community gardens on
> > lots before they could be sold or closed.
> > But the two housing projects that will replace the 10 gardens were
> > by a wide margin. The lack of housing for moderate-income families in
> > South Bronx is "a crisis," said Councilwoman June M. Eisland of the
> > expressing a feeling that others echoed.
> > "We're having to choose between one good program and another good
> > Ms. Eisland said. "But we need moderately priced housing and can't let
> > homes be lost."
> > After yesterday's meeting, South Bronx residents, including many
> retirees who
> > have been traveling to City Hall monthly for two years to try to save
> > gardens, spoke of the land, sounding rueful but unsurprised at the vote.
> > listed the tomatoes, corn and eggplant they had grown, and described the
> > neighborhood schoolchildren who had had their first experiences with
> > gardening, and their discovery that vegetables originate from seeds
> > in the ground, not from cans on supermarket shelves.
> > "We have hundreds of people coming in and out of the gardens every nice
> > said Verna Lee Judge, 82, after recounting the months she and others
> > clearing a garbage- strewn vacant lot in 1967. The lot, on Caldwell
> > was eventually turned into Franklin Memorial Garden, the Bronx's oldest
> > community garden, which once won a city award as the most beautiful in
> > York. "The children socialize," Ms. Judge said. "The seniors socialize
> > knit. It's a haven, really a haven."
> > All agreed that the larger issue was forcing the city, especially the
> > Preservation and Development Department, to provide open, green space in
> > housing projects.
> > The choice before the Land Use Committee yesterday exemplified the
> > of choosing between badly needed housing and the green space that
> > to quality of life, all the Council members said.
> > "It's either gardens and no housing or housing and no gardens," said
> > Councilman A. Gifford Miller of Manhattan. "It's a false choice. We need
> > housing and open space. H.P.D. doesn't want to protect any gardens."
> > Carol Abrams, a spokeswoman for the housing preservation department,
> > that it "includes permanent open space in as many developments as
> > "We have playgrounds, gardens, yards and lawns," she said. "We add trees
> > whenever possible."
> > "There's an enormous demand," she added, "for homeownership housing."
> > The community gardens bill would provide a way of evaluating each garden
> > the city decides that the lot should be sold or cleared. The review
> > look at the number of gardeners and visitors, the garden's quality and
> > overall importance to the neighborhood.
> > Supporters of the bill say it would allow a logical, coordinated way to
> > approach competing issues: how to save the gardens, many of which are 10
> > 20 years old, and how to provide much-needed housing. The review would
> > provide mitigation, requiring the city to provide open green space to
> > that which it sells or bulldozes.
> --- CYBERGARDENS
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