City Issues RFP to Bulldoze Elizabeth Street Garden for Affordable Housing Development

Posted on: September 16th, 2016 at 5:03 am by

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The Elizabeth Street Garden is caught between affordable housing and a green place. And now, it appears that bulldozing might come sooner than previously believed.

The Department of Housing Preservation and Development issued an official Request for Proposals this week to redevelop the city-owned land for affordable senior housing. “The Project must include affordable housing for seniors that both meets the economic needs of the community and furthers fair housing by promoting economically diverse neighborhoods,” the announcement reads. “The Development must also include quality commercial and/or community facility uses, as well publicly-accessible open space.”

Per the press release:

[On Wednesday] NYC Housing Preservation and Development invited developers to submit proposals to destroy Elizabeth Street Garden, our beloved neighborhood green space in the heart of historic Little Italy. Garden supporters, who have worked tirelessly for the past three years to transform the beautiful garden into a virtual outdoor community center, vow to fight to save what many refer to as the “soul of the neighborhood.”

“The City has repeatedly threatened to move forward with plans to build on the Garden, and we knew this day would come,” said Jeannine Kiely, president of Friends of Elizabeth Street Garden. “We will not back down and allow real estate developers and elected officials to ignore us any longer. Council Member Chin has turned a deaf ear to her constituents, who overwhelmingly support saving Elizabeth Street Garden. Unfortunately, the administration is once again allowing politics to determine policy, despite receiving 4,500 community letters in support of saving the Garden and despite Manhattan Community Board 2’s recommendation for an alternative site with the potential for five times more affordable housing.”

Scoopy over at The Villager also suspects that the RFP was delayed until now so that it wouldn’t hurt Gigi Li in her bid for the 65th Assembly seat. She was the sole supporter of the project in the field of six Democratic candidates. Given her epic loss this week to Yuh-Line Niou, the project is back on the table, with her puppetmaster Councilmember Chin still pushing to make it happen. However, the community (and CB2) will reportedly “go to the mat” in opposition to the plans.

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