The Trust for Public Land, in an exciting effort to promote a greener city, is turning over one of the largest network of community gardens in the nation to local residents across the five boroughs. In total, 69 parcels of land, encompassing about eight acres in Manhattan, The Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn, will be given to the communities, empowering the residents who originally created the lush green gardens.
The Trust specializes in transforming vacant lots into green vibrant spaces in an effort to promote environmental sustainability in NYC neighborhoods. The Trust purchased the titles to the gardens from the city in 1999 for $3 million, now valued at $7 million. Eighteen of the gardens are in The Bronx, six are in Queens, 30 in Brooklyn and 15 are in Manhattan. The first 32 parcels of land will be handed over today in Carver Garden to the newly formed Manhattan and Bronx Land Trusts. Gardens will also be given to the Brooklyn-Queens Land Trust in the future.
Carver Garden was selected as the location for the celebration ceremony due to its powerful history. At one point, the garden fell to rat infested decay and neglect, but it was later rehabilitated thanks in large part to a dedicated group of local gardeners and community organizers. Today, Carver Garden is a beautiful green oasis and an important part of the local community.
“It’s a very big deal – gardeners created these gardens, and now they’ll actually own them,” said Erica Packard, executive director of the new Bronx and Manhattan land trusts, in an interview with The Daily News. “They’ll be preserved and held in local hands, which is unusual for municipal land.”
The gardens were originally owned by the city in the ’70s, but due to redevelopment, many of the gardens were suppose to become parking lots. Some areas would have even just been left as empty lots. The Trust purchased 62 of the gardens, and along with the original $3 million to purchase, $4 million was invested in improvements.
This is perhaps one of the most effective green programs in NYC, bringing about very visible improvement to many New York neighborhoods. Thanks in large part to similar environmental activism, our city is fast becoming a green oasis.
Via NY Daily News