[cg] [Fwd: bk garden]
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NYTimes.com March 19, 1999
A Community Garden in Brooklyn Wins Reprieve
By DAVID M. HERSZENHORN
A once-vacant lot in Park Slope, Brooklyn, that is now
a tranquil garden popular with elderly residents and
schoolchildren has been removed from a list of more than
100 city-owned lots scheduled to be auctioned in May.
The move was the first sign that the Giuliani
administration may be willing to spare some of the
community gardens from development.
Advocates for the gardens have no legal grounds to block
the sale but they have urged Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani
to review each lot individually. Three weeks ago, 30
garden supporters were arrested after staging a sit-in
inside City Hall to protest the auction after attending
the last of four public hearings required for the city
to sell the properties.
A spokesman for the Mayor said Thursday that the
decision to save the Park Slope lot, called the Gil
Hodges Memorial Park for Senior Citizens in honor of the
Brooklyn Dodgers baseball star, was made in response to
testimony at the hearings and other community pressure,
including letters from schoolchildren, church officials,
Councilman Stephen DiBrienza and Borough President
In letters announcing the decision to Golden, DiBrienza
and the Rev. Roderick Crispo, pastor of Our Lady of
Peace church, which maintains the garden, Jake Menges,
the Mayor's director of intergovernmental affairs, said
he had visited the garden and concluded it "is best used
as a meeting and greeting place for seniors, children
and members of the community."
DiBrienza, Golden and Father Crispo joined neighborhood
residents in the garden at Carroll Street and Denton
Place yesterday to celebrate the decision in the glow of
bright spring sunshine. "It is a victory and a
celebration for the folks who surround us here,"
DiBrienza said. "This is a residential area that has a
lot of industry mixed in. It's always been that way. But
this is the oasis."
Golden also praised the decision but said, "we must work
to have all gardens similarly reviewed, so we can save
as many viable gardens as possible."
The mayoral spokesman, Curt Ritter, said other gardens
would receive similar consideration before the auction
on May 12 and 13.
Officials noted that the reprieve for the Gil Hodges
garden was not necessarily permanent.
The city agreed to let neighborhood groups turn the
vacant lots into gardens more than 20 years ago, with
the understanding that eventually the lots would be sold
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