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Urgent - Buldozer Allert, Encampment - South Bronx Community Garden

  • Subject: [cg] Urgent - Buldozer Allert, Encampment - South Bronx Community Garden
  • From: aresh aresh@moregardens.org
  • Date: Sun, 26 Oct 2003 12:51:04 -0500


Join us Afternoon Sunday October 26th through the Morning of Monday October 27th to stand for our community gardens! Every morning from then a strong protective presence is essential to preserve the garden.

3138 Park Avenue between 159th & 160th
161, Yankee stadium 4 & D train or 149th and Third Avenue 2&5 train
call cell 917-518-9987 for more info or questions

Morrisainia Senior Citizen community garden
3138 Park Avenue between 159th & 160th
Garden Contact Person: Mr. Randoliver Lebron 718-992-3689
Threat of Bulldozer
One of the South Bronx United Gardeners, Mr. Lebron (88 years young) of the
Morisainia Senior Citizen Garden on Park Avenue was told that all belongings were to be removed from the garden by Monday because the community garden was to be bulldozed.
No official letter, no real time lines or alternatives were offered which is a pattern of short sighted city agencies.
Mr. Lebron was approached by a group of people (developers?) on Saturday October 18th, who he welcomed in to the community garden. They preceded to take measurements and left. On Wednesday October 22nd a European American male in his sixties, possibly working for a NYC agency approached Mr. Lebron and gave him the ultimatum
to get out by Monday October 27th. The man also said he did not care that Mr. Lebron and other elder tenants had gardened for 14 years, that the garden feeds many senior citizens or that Mr. Lebron worked for the NYCHA's Morisainia Tenant Patrol for 25 years. He stressed that all possessions be removed from the garden by Monday morning when the bulldozer is going to knock down everything.
To Do:
1. Come to the garden and help especially Sunday the 26th
2. Phone Calls to make a difference:
Help over  20 community Gardens in the South Bronx. Call Nos Quedamos’ director Yolanda Garcia, phone # 718 585 2323. Thank her for starting a dialogue to make All the Melrose Community Gardens Permanent side by side with real affordable housing! - Tell her to support the Morrisainia Senior Citizen Garden, and KEEP the Rincon Criollo Community Gardeners WHERE she is.
Also please call Councilmember Serrano (718) 402-6130 tell him to help negotiate the Morrisainia Senior Citizen Garden and keep her permanent, that he has the power to tell HPD  what the people want and to make all the endangered community gardens especially the beloved Rincon Criollo and Jardin Criollo permanent “where they are”! Tell him we are counting on his leadership and action.
For fourteen years, Sr. Lebron of the South Bronx has run the Morrisainia Senior Citizen community garden in the Melrose section of the South Bronx. It is a GreenThumb garden which has gone out of tracking due to unknown reasons. Next door is a fire station now used for Emergency Medical Services and across the street is the Morrisainia Senior Citizen residence. The community garden is blooming with life and greenery even as the cold of winter begins to set in in New York City.  Rows of basil, eggplant, red and green peppers, tomatoes, okra, pumpkin, sunflowers, and carrots sprout up like green gems in the midst of high rises and concrete.  A humble tool shed gives shelter to gardening tools, buckets, a folding chair, and - somewhat surprisingly - several wheelchairs and walkers.
  "I get them from my building," Mr. Lebron explains.  At a deceptive 88 years of age himself, Mr. Lebron seems far from needing any of these things himself.  "When someone dies and leaves a wheelchair or walker the building manager gives them to me and I store them here in the garden.  Then when someone else needs one they know I have them here.
"  Seniors in the community know Mr. Lebron gives out wheelchairs and walkers, and for many without adequate medical care, he is a vital source in the neighborhood.  The garden's role goes beyond that of storage space for medical equipment, however.  Community members (and especially seniors) come to the garden for  companionship, social events, respite from the harsh atmosphere of the urban environment, and - very significantly - they come to the garden for food.  "I'm here almost every day from 6 o'clock in the morning on," Mr. Lebron commented.  "Everyone knows I'm here.  They know they can come get food."  His role in the community has been pivotal around the community garden, and reflective on the mutual, interdependent relationship between Mr. Lebron and his neighbors. The fire station / EMT next door has always been supportive of Mr. Lebron and his garden, helping him along the way with the water hose.
There are many empty lots which are not community gardens and do not serve a large population of senior citizens. No effort was made to thank Mr, Lebron for his 14 years of volunteer community service and to push for his garden to be made permanent.
Housing is a must and those for the low income and homeless are what the gardeners been fighting for. There are now vast fields newly built prepared, leggo style, concrete box, Partnership housing. They are wasting much needed units of housing with only 3 floors. Each unit costing $300,000 each to own does not come close to serving the real housing needs of the neighborhood with a $14000 median income. Build higher, keep the gardens, and make housing for the needs of the neighborhood residents.
The More Gardens! Coalition is a group of community people, gardeners,
and environmental and social justice activists committed to revitalizing
and enhancing existing community gardens and making more gardens!
Questions, Donations, and Help Call 212 533 8019 & www.moregardens.org


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