Members of the Siempre Verde Community Garden are gearing up for a battle at Community Board 3 next month. The city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development, along with a private developer, will go before the land use committee October 14 with a proposal to put up a residential building in the garden space.
A similar plan won the support of the community board in 2012. But the proposal was dropped by the developer and the city agreed to permit activists to use the parcels, at 137 Attorney St. and 181 Stanton St., for a garden. Since that time, they have transformed the lots into a beautiful urban oasis. The garsden is supported by the Green Thumb Program, part of the city’s Parks Department.
The new plan calls for selling the lots to a developer, who would also utilize 139 Attorney St., an adjacent parcel, for a 16 unit apartment building with a roof deck. There would be three units of affordable housing. According to CB3’s agenda, the “project will be privately financed and is applying for a 421-a tax abatement,” which is available to builders who set aside 20% of a project’s apartments for affordable housing.
Garden activists have launched a petition drive. Here’s the text:
Real estate developers are seeking permission to build 16 rental units (80% luxury) on the space the garden currently occupies. Siempre Verde is the Lower East Side’s youngest Green thumb community garden and one of the few green spaces left in the neighborhood. In 2012, volunteers began transforming two narrow rubble-strewn city-owned lots into an oasis where neighbors, children, plants, trees, birds and bees congregate. Everyone is learning to grow vegetables and flowers, and we have held over 70 community workshops and events including worm composting, art, music, design & yoga workshops. 1000 new apartments are being built within 2 blocks. The Lower East Side needs EXISTING green space, not more luxury development! Please help the garden and community by signing this petition. Please forward this message! We also urge you to show your support in person at Manhattan Community Board 3 meeting where this issue will be reviewed on Tuesday, October 14 at 6:30pm at University Settlement – 184 Eldridge St (btwn Rivington & Delancey Sts). This will show CB3 how important the garden is to the community and that disposing of it is not an option.
Community Board 3 has not yet received details regarding the proposal. We’ll pass along that information as soon as we get it. The privately owned lot, 139 Attorney St., is owned by the estate of William Gottlieb. Click here if you would like to sign the petition.