Here’s more on the situation at the Children’s Miracle Garden, where developer Serge Hoyda erected a fence around a portion of the property earlier today. There are actually three lots on this site — two controlled by the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and one owned by Hoyda’s development company. The city-owned sites are destined for future development – HPD’s mission is to create affordable housing. In the interim, we’re told, the city offered the Lower East Side gardeners a temporary agreement for the two parcels last fall. According to a spokesperson from HPD, the agreement would have helped “keep a clear line of communication open between the group and city, and also offer(ed) certain protections under city rules for temporary gardens – such as providing notice to the group when development is imminent and helping to locate alternate gardening sites if a garden has to be vacated for development.” The spokesperson said the group declined the offer.
Garden Director Kate Temple-West told us a few moments ago the group chose not to sign the agreement with the city because it would have only protected the community space for one year and it would have established the parcel as a future development site. The organization believes the city should make the space a permanent community garden under the Green Thumb program. “It’s shortsighted of the city to designate the site for luxury housing,” she said. Tomorrow from 2-4 p.m. kids will be preparing banners in support of maintaining the garden. The group is weighing its options including potential legal action.