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City Strenthens Protections for Community Gardens

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9th Street & Avenue C - Community Garden. Photo by Matthew McDermott.

A short time ago, NYC Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe, with elected officials and neighborhood activists at his side, announced the city is making some concessions to more fully protect the city’s community gardens.  Protesters had strongly opposed the city’s proposed new rules, which they argued would have made the gardens more susceptible to development.

During a news conference in Harlem this morning, Benepe said the city heard the concerns voiced during an emotional public meeting last month.

According to a news release, the rules will make it clear that “gardens will be preserved and … that the transfer and development provisions apply to abandoned and persistently non-compliant gardens under the Department’s jurisdiction.”

In a statement, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said:

“I want to thank the Administration, the Community Garden Coalition, and all the gardeners and other advocates who have worked so hard on this issue that many care so passionately about… Together, we were able to come up with protections that continue and strengthen the original Attorney General’s agreement that is about to expire. The fact that these rules will now guarantee that as long as a community garden remains in good standing, it will be preserved and protected from development is a big victory for all of our neighborhoods, and is just one of the many things my colleagues and I called for when I testified at the Parks Department hearing back in August. Given that rules can potentially be repealed by future administrations, I will continue to pursue other strategies to achieve longer term protections, but in the meantime I am pleased that we have achieved the strongest rules possible.”

The new rules go into effect 30 days from today.

More to come…

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