Here’s a followup on the plight of the Siempre Verde Community Garden, which has been threatened with redevelopment. Earlier this week, Community Board 3 voted unanimously to adopt a resolution drafted by the land use committee committee calling for the rejection of the development proposal and asking that the Stanton Street garden be made a permanent green space. The city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), however, doesn’t appear ready to relent just yet.
William Gottlieb Management, which owns 139 Attorney St., proposed a purchase of two adjacent garden parcels, 137 Attorney St. and 181 Stanton St,. for a 16-unit housing project. It would include three units of affordable housing. Board members agreed that it wasn’t worth sacrificing the garden for such a small number of affordable apartments. The resolution approved Tuesday evening called on HPD to transfer the city-owned lots to the GreenThumb Program, a division of the Parks Department. A couple of years ago, HPD agreed to let local residents use the space on an interim basis, but did not relinquish control.
In the hours before the vote, we’re told, Gottlieb Management asked to meet with community members to discuss unspecified new proposals. While there was discussion about holding off on a vote, the board decided to go ahead with a strong statement in support of the garden. Yesterday an HPD spokesperson told us, “We’re taking the input and opinions of the community and the Community Board under consideration and are in the process of assessing the available options.”
This afternoon, garden leader Elissa Sampson said the group is asking elected officials to “take the advice of CB3” and to help “move the garden to the Parks Department as expeditiously as possible under the GreenThumb Program.”
Both City Council member Margaret Chin and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver are in support of the resolution. After CB3’s committee hearing, Silver issued a statement saying, “I urge the city to transfer this land to Parks Department so that it can be made a permanent community garden now and into the future.”