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Re: NYC Garden Insurance Working Group

  • Subject: [cg] Re: NYC Garden Insurance Working Group
  • From: stoneedie@aol.com
  • Date: Wed, 12 Oct 2005 16:15:48 -0400

Hello all- I am somewhat surprised to hear that there is a "New York City Garden Insurance Working Group"  that doesn't include a Parks representative.  I am sorry that I haven't been more  vocal on this topic but I am waiting for some clarification from up top at the Arsenal.  Given the level of worry out there at this point I do feel like I need to clarify at least a few things immediately.
1. It is true that NOSC is no longer providing a low cost garden insurance policy.  It is my understanding that they were unable to obtain any policy that would be affordable to gardeners.  Because they could not obtain a renewal policy, the insurance coverage lapsed at the end of the last policy term, in mid August.
2.  The Parks Department (including GreenThumb) immediately began looking for a solution to the problem.  It was at all times assumed that the City would take on the majority of the liability and most of the cost for any new policy that was obtained.  NOSC was also reimbursed by the City for the the difference between what they paid for last years coverage and what they actually received in gardener payments.  I was informed that NOSC had returned any renewal checks sent in by the gardeners uncashed.
3. In the 6BC incident, the City Comptroller's office almost immediately agreed to take on the liability  once the incident was brought to their attention.  No one in the garden will be held personally liable.  Some of the other facts mentioned about the incident on the list serve are also not accurate, but since the case is in litigation I do not feel it is appropriate for me to discuss anything in a public forum.
4.  Within a short time (this is what I am awaiting clarification on) the Parks Department and Corp Counsel will be finalizing a new low cost insurance policy for gardeners.  Our goals are to provide full liability coverage and for the price to gardeners not to exceed $250 annually.  It is taking some time to work out all the details, but in the meantime, so long as you are on City Property the City is liable as long as you are engaging in normal gardening activities.  I am not a lawyer and I am not even going to try to define that, but I think if you speak to the gardeners at 6BC personally you will see that we are taking care of them.
I hope this helps.  If you have further questions please email me at my Parks email address edie.stone@parks.nyc.gov
-Edie Stone, Director, GreenThumb
-----Original Message-----
From: F.L. Andrew Padian <padian@swinter.com>
To: Adam36055@aol.com; williamhohauser@earthlink.net; community_garden@mallorn.com; jjackson@nyrp.org; tjbrandt@treebranch.com; susan@greenthumbnyc.org; stoneedieedie@parks.nyc.gov; StoneEdie@aol.com; plantlot@rcn.com; Plantlot@aol.com; pgovernale@ny4p.org; nymagnolia@mindspring.com; nseverance@audubon.org; nicole@greenthumbnyc.edu; manhattanbotanical.garden@verizon.net; m_leger@earthlink.net; kchura@nyhs.org; JonC@LaPlacaCohen.com; joncrow@earthlink.net; Joanne.Morse@tpl.org; gwenne.hayes-stewart@mobot.org; susan.fields@parks.nyc.gov; ellenkirby@bbg.org; edie.stone@parks.com; bfeldt@verizon.net
Cc: jspahn@nyc.rr.com
Sent: Sat, 8 Oct 2005 14:23:25 -0400
Subject: Re: NYC Garden Insurance Working Group

This sounds rather simple to me.
The garden is owned by the City and the City leases to us.
The City is self insured.
Sounds to me like the City is our insurer by default.
If they claim they are not our insurer by default, they must legally inform us that our contract has changed; then we must re-issue a new agreement to all keyholders.  Change the lock.  Everyone must totally indemnify the garden, the city, and everyone in the garden, and will personnally accept all responsibility for injury if they choose to enter.  Only gardeners and their guests are allowed.
----- Original Message ----- 
From: Adam36055@aol.com 
To: williamhohauser@earthlink.net ; community_garden@mallorn.com ; jjackson@nyrp.org ; tjbrandt@treebranch.com ; susan@greenthumbnyc.org ; stoneedieedie@parks.nyc.gov ; StoneEdie@aol.com ; plantlot@rcn.com ; Plantlot@aol.com ; pgovernale@ny4p.org ; nymagnolia@mindspring.com ; nseverance@audubon.org ; nicole@greenthumbnyc.edu ; manhattanbotanical.garden@verizon.net ; m_leger@earthlink.net ; kchura@nyhs.org ; JonC@LaPlacaCohen.com ; joncrow@earthlink.net ; Joanne.Morse@tpl.org ; gwenne.hayes-stewart@mobot.org ; susan.fields@parks.nyc.gov ; ellenkirby@bbg.org ; edie.stone@parks.com ; bfeldt@verizon.net 
Cc: jspahn@nyc.rr.com 
Sent: Saturday, October 08, 2005 12:08 PM
Subject: NYC Garden Insurance Working Group


In the midst of a rather warm discussion on garden accessibility issues carried on the American Community Gardening listserve,  Mr. William Hohauser,Pres of NYC's  6B Community garden,  shared this piece of intelligence: 

Mr. Hohauser stated that after  August 2006, there will be no community garden insurance for NYC community gardens provided under the aegis of  the Neighborhood Open Space Coalition. 

"The insurance issue, believe me or not, is true. I talked to Toby  Bran[d]t," [of the Neighorhood Open Space Coalition], "three weeks ago and had the news confirmed by Edie Stone. As I  stated, nobody has told the gardens, I had to call. The reason I  called NOSC was in reaction to the problem at 6BC Garden. In short, a  woman sitting in the garden had her foot crushed by rocks falling off  an unstable wheelbarrow. The garden was not being monitored by a  garden member and the person operating the wheelbarrow was a non- member volunteer. The 6BC garden is temporarily closed now. 
I am now in discussion with NYC Parks about the garden insurance  
issue. I'll update the community garden board this week after my  
meeting with them."

Needless to say,this is extremely disturbing news. I will, of course contact NOSC and Greenthumb on behalf of the Clinton Community Garden to confirm this. 

However, with the strong assumption that Mr. Hohauser's statement is correct, the city's volunteer run community gardens and other volunteer run public spaces have some serious issues to resolve. Running our gardens without insurance coverage would be a greater challenge to our gardens than former Mayor Guiliani and the entire real estate development community gave us. 

There are community garden organizations throughout the US and Canada. 

I would be very interested in finding out which insurance companies provide them with insurance, and would be extremely grateful for any information that could be provided to gardeners in NYC. Please forward your insurance information to the ACGA listserv, with a copy to my personal e-mail: Adam36055@aol.com

Some suggested topics for discussion: 

1) How to find a new carrier or carriers  to provide affordable public space insurance to our community gardens under the aegis of NOSC, or some other entity. 

2) I am not sure what kind of insurance coverage Trust for Public Land, or NY Restoration managed gardens carry. If these gardens have a non NOSC policy, we will should discuss reaching out to them. 

3) If our gardens are to get coverage under NYC's insurance, discussions would have to start almost immediately,  with NYC Parks and the  NYC Parks legal dept.,  on how, and under what conditions of operations the city's gardens could be covered by NYC's insurance umbrella. 
Undoubtedly, this option will require for there to be a certain amount of standardization of security and safety practices in our gardens to allow coverage under a group policy. The gardens need to be at the table when this standardization is formulated. 

4) All of our gardens will need to have some sort of idea of what this new coverage will cost our gardens, so we can start to raise and set aside cash for what may prove to be a huge budget item for all of our gardens. 

I've copied representatives of NOSC, Greenthumb, TPL, NY Restoration, the NY Council for the Environment,  the American Community Garden Association listserv, the NOSC based cybergardens listserv to get this information circulated. Please feel free to circulate this information among your NYC gardens and gardeners. 

I work 7 - 5 daily, so while I would most certainly participate in this process, I could not be the point/contact  person once we get going - any ideas, volunteers?

Best wishes, 
Adam Honigman
Clinton Community Garden

The American Community Gardening Association listserve is only one of ACGA's services to community gardeners. To learn more about the ACGA and to find out how to join, please go to http://www.communitygarden.org

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