FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, April 04, 2017
NYC PARKS TAKES SIGNIFICANT STEP TOWARD MAKING MAPLE STREET COMMUNITY GARDEN WHOLE
Parks Works to Acquire Open Space for Beloved Community Garden in Brooklyn
NYC Parks is pleased to announce that the City is one step closer to acquiring Brooklyn’s Maple Street Community Garden with the official Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) certification now complete. This milestone is a crucial step in getting City approval to acquire the site. Located at 237 Maple Street, the garden is a midblock lot which sits between Rogers and Nostrand avenues, and has served as a passive open space and maintained as community garden by neighborhood residents since 2013. Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and City Council Member Mathieu Eugene have allocated $1.25 million toward the acquisition, which would facilitate the continued use of Maple Street Community Garden as a passive open space and community garden. Once the ULURP process concludes, the acquisition could be completed by mid-2018.
“Parks is proud and appreciative of the work of the community garden members who have cared for this treasured open space, and we will continue to work toward keeping it open to the public,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP. “Maple Street Community Garden is an impressive example of the ways in which communities are empowered to come together to beautify and give back to our shared outdoor spaces. We celebrate the dedicated volunteers and community activists that have made Maple Street Community Garden thrive, and we thank Borough President Adams, Council Member Eugene, and 596 Acres for recognizing the importance of keeping this site intact.”
“ULURP certification brings us one step closer to preserving the Maple Street Community Garden for generations of Prospect-Lefferts Gardens to come,” said Borough President Adams. “I am excited to continue advancing this project forward alongside garden stakeholders who are helping us make this community a safer place to raise healthy children and families.”
“The Maple Street Community Garden serves an important purpose within our district as a place where the public can gather to appreciate the beauty of the neighborhood,” said Council Member Eugene. “I want to thank Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams for partnering with me on this initiative, and my many constituents who have been involved in the process. The members of this garden have made a profound commitment to its preservation, and I am so very appreciative of their efforts. It is my hope that with this land acquisition, we can provide residents with a special green space to gather in for years to come.”
"This is an amazing step in the journey! We are so glad to support grassroots, community-led development of this neighborhood and to facilitate partnership with Parks and our elected advocates that will allow the preservation of the Garden for generations to come," said Founding Director of 596 Acres Paula Z. Segal.
“GreenThumb is thrilled at the possibility of welcoming another garden, and gardening group, to the GreenThumb family,” said GreenThumb Director Bill LoSasso. “Our volunteer gardeners have been dedicated stewards of blocks throughout New York City for decades, creating and caring for community gardens that provide green spaces, produce food, and bring neighbors together in the shared stewardship of open space. GreenThumb is grateful for the steadfast support of Borough President Adams and Council Member Eugene, and we look forward to working with the gardeners at Maple Street Community Garden to extend the benefits of community gardening to more New Yorkers.”
Since 2013, Maple Street Community Garden has been used as a passive open space and community garden by neighborhood residents. Previously, the site had been vacant since the demolition of an unsafe building on site, which was damaged in a fire and demolished by NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development in 1997. The lot sat vacant between 1997 and 2013, when neighborhood residents raised funds and worked to transform the lot into a community space to grow fresh produce and provide open space by removing debris, building gardening beds, and landscaping the site.
NYC Parks GreenThumb
GreenThumb provides programming and material support to nearly 600 community gardens in New York City. Workshops, which are the access point for supplies, are held every month of the year, covering gardening basics to more advanced farming and community organizing topics. GreenThumb was initiated in response to the city’s financial crisis of the 1970s, which resulted in the abandonment of public and private land. The majority of GreenThumb gardens were derelict vacant lots renovated by volunteers. These community gardens, now managed by neighborhood residents, provide important green space, thus improving air quality, bio–diversity, and the well–being of residents. But gardens aren’t just pretty spaces; they’re also important community resources.
596 Acres champions resident stewardship of land to build more just and equitable cities. 596 Acres builds tools to help neighbors see vacant lots as opportunities and create needed green spaces that become focal points for community organizing and civic engagement. We turned our original online map into a sophisticated interactive organizing tool, Living Lots NYC, which provides information about vacant land across NYC and is supported by signs and other print materials. These materials go hand in hand with our ongoing organizing and advocacy work.