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Urgent nyc senior citizen garden being raised (half destroyed on wed)-Forward Please

  • Subject: [cg] Urgent nyc senior citizen garden being raised (half destroyed on wed)-Forward Please
  • From: aresh aresh@moregardens.org
  • Date: Thu, 20 Nov 2003 05:24:17 -0500

Urgent time is almost over please make calls & come to next Tuesdays Rally in the Bronx:

On Wednesday, November 19th at nine o’clock in the morning at Morrisania Garden in the Melrose neighborhood of the South Bronx, Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) - better known as Housing Prevention and Destruction brought a truck ful of workers in a white van to the gates. Amidst the confusion, language barriers and threats by HPD, the gardener opened the gate letting the defenders out thinking that the defenders had wanted to leave. At the same time the defenders thought the gardener was asking them to leave. HPD then proceeded to smash the small shed used for storage of wheelchairs for the elderly and gardening materials.  Chairs, tables, and many of the gardeners’ indispensable tools were destroyed and discarded.  Garden plants were uprooted and thrown into a dumpster. The gardeners, all senior citizens, tried their best to demonstrate throughout the windy and rainy day explaining that Yolanda Garcia director of Nos Quedamos/We Stay (the local non profit development agency) had said that there would be no action to destroy the garden until the end of the year. Also Councilmember Serrano had stated in the New York Daily News that they were looking for an alternate site for the seniors.
It was heartbreaking for all the gardeners to watch their precious greenspace trashed.  Many of the gardeners are disabled and cannot travel far and many feel unsafe even a block away with heavy drug traffic all around.  With its close proximity to their homes, the garden was within easy reach of gardeners.  There are currently twenty additional gardens in harms way; five have been bulldozed in recent times. Councilmember Serrano could follow the example of the neighboring Councilmember Diane Foster (and previously her father) who for the past three years has stopped destruction of all Morrisania area community gardens by halting the tax breaks to the developers in the finance committee, until negotiations are completed. Citywide since the garden settlement we have also had community gardens in the same situation as those in Melrose, those in East New York (Charles Barron), Brownsville (Tracey Boyland), and many others made permanent by the local Councilmember’s’ efforts.  The Melrose neighborhood has lost the last five battles to HPD with no resistance.  Councilmember Serrano is needed on the side of the working people of Melrose.  The next two to three months his decisions or non decisions will permanently affect the South Bronx’s gardens.  Most know of two amazing cultural centers and community gardens, Jardin Criollo and Rincon Criollo, who are on the front of this list.
TO DO - Please call:
Councilmember Jose M Serrano or equally responsible his executive director George Torres can be reac he d at:                     718-402-6130                serrano@council.nyc.ny.us
Yolanda Garcia of Nos Quedamos / We Stay can be reached at:
718-585-2323                     nosquedamos@verizon.net
Ask them to take action by calling and stopping HPD destroying the community gardens and the working people of the South Bronx, especially the Seniors of Morrisania Gardens (half destroyed) and the children in all the other gardens.  Tell them that all the gardens need to become permanent in their present location.
 “I’ve just been asked to move out of my house next to the newly bui lt $425 000 per unit housing.  The landlord stated he can make more money from new tenants in the neighborhood than a Section Eight senior citizen. [Points to graveyard south of the Melrose area.]  Is that where they want us to go?  Who is helping the poor in the neighborhood?  Who is standing up with the poorer people in the neighborhood?  The gardens were one of the few saving graces of the last twenty years, we must keep them here with permanent low income housing.”
Isaul, a neighborhood resident of over fifty years

Press Release: Send or forward to others please

What: HPD is moving forward with plans to demolish 30 gardens in the South Bronx.  This rally is to put pressure on our local Councilpeople to follow through on the commitments they made to work with HPD to save some gardens, and to sit down with the other g arde ns to discuss their fate.
When: 12.15pm, Tuesday November 25th 2003
Where: Rally at Bronx Borough Hall (Corner of 161st and Grand Concourse)
Message: We are telling Councilman Serrano, Councilman Rivera, and Councilwoman Foster that we are supporting them in preserving our community gardens, and they should preserve them immediately!
The Bronx presently has 30 threatened community gardens.
·      Over 20 of these are in the Melrose Commons Plan including a major Puerto Rican cultural center
·      1 garden is just east of Melrose serving the Hunt’s Point Multi-Service Senior center
·      7 gardens are in Morrisania including a children’s park and a school garden
·      2 gardens are in Crotona with over 200 members who use the space for cooking/events
FIVE GARDENS ALREADY BU LLDOZ ED: Cabo Rojo, Hostos-Crimmins, Eagle, Shakespeare, and Salinas Community Gardens were all terrible losses to the people of the South Bronx.
Health: South Bronx has the highest rates of asthma in the USA--14 times the National Average: Trees filter asthma particles while layers of leaves act as a particulate matter filter.
Education: Many Schools utilize the gardens as outdoor classrooms, learning labs, and as the only outside play areas.
Food/Economics: South Bronx is one of the poorest districts in the country.  Gardens provide a space to grow nutritious fruits and vegetables improving health and saving the City’s poorest residents thousands of dollars over the period of one year in food bills.
Crime: Many gardens have links with local NYPD to watch the streets and to participate in programs such as Safewalk.
Housing: The median income in the districts with threatened gardens ranges from ~$14,000-$19,000/year yet the so called “affordable housing” has minimum income requirements of ~$32,000/year thus NOT providing housing that is affordable for any of the current residents.
Primary--New York City Community Garden Coalition/ La Familia Verde, Karen Washington (917) 861-2783
South Bronx United Gardens, Marty Rogers (718) 292-1705 or Carlos Torres (646) 283-6253
Bronx United Gardeners (BUG), Ms. Brooks (718) 589-4642

Lawyers Representing More Gardens! folks please Support
Subject: Lynne Stewart Alert: 11/21 new court date WBAI is now reporting on the new charges that Ashcroft has filed against Stewart. Stewart said she was notified last week that the DOJ would be pursuing her on "new theories." She said the 22 indictments are nearly the same as the first 22, which were dismissed; under a slightly different section of the law, she is accused of providing "personnel" in the 'form' of her client (who's in prison). "Te rrific government vindictiveness" is what Stewart says is at work here. Tune in to WBAI for more information tomorrow morning and evening. Stewart will be re-arraigned in federal court Friday 11/21 at 500 Pearl Street at 5:00 pm and asks for folks to turn out in support of her. Be there! ----------

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