CB2 Endorses Permanent Preservation of the Elizabeth Street Garden

Posted on: February 14th, 2014 at 5:33 am by

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The Elizabeth Street Garden in Little Italy just cleared its first major hurdle on the track to permanence. Many months of grassroots campaigning netted a win for advocates a couple weeks ago at the full Community Board 2 meeting.

Many in the community believe the mid-block sculpture garden is under direct threat from the SPURA redevelopment project. Indeed, this particular site was specifically identified as a prime spot for offsite affordable housing (as part of the plan). A vocal majority of neighbors weren’t too happy with this idea, while critics were quick to posit that the 20,000 square-foot green area was never really open to the public until possible residential development was on the table. The garden was rarely open to the public until recently, so the opposition felt it was more a benefit for Allan Reiver’s adjacent gallery, which has kept watch since 1991 with a month-to-month lease from the city.

Responding to questioning from the board, garden volunteers agreed to “form an independent non-profit organization to preserve the Garden, either under the NYC Parks Green Thumb community garden program or other City jurisdiction,” and also the “gallery owner stated his support for creating a public open space at the site.” Meanwhile, CB2 promised to work to “expand and preserve affordable housing in the district.”

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In the end, though, Community Board 2 voted to preserve the Elizabeth Street Garden during the aforementioned full board meeting. The resolution carries a whopping total of twenty-three “Whereas” clauses.

Read the full shebang below:

CB2 Ruling on Elizabeth Street Garden

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