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[cg] [Fwd: bk garden]

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The CYBERPARK mailing list
NYTimes.com      March 19, 1999

          A Community Garden in Brooklyn Wins Reprieve


         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
          Howard Golden.

          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
          for development.

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