Siempre Verde Garden Saved as City Transfers Ownership to Parks Department Under GreenThumb

Posted on: January 4th, 2016 at 5:15 am by
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​Catching up on some news that transpired during the holiday week … Siempre Verde Garden on Stanton Street is finally under the protective care of the Parks Department. The city officially transferred ownership from from the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, which heretofore oversaw the parcel. The garden activists at 596 Acres listed the pocket park as one of many city gardens that recently made the transfer. Now, as an official member of the GreenThumb program – they’ve maintained “temporary” status since 2012 – the L-shaped garden is off-limits to developers. Well, for the most part.

HPD owns two of three lots on which the garden sits – 137 Attorney and 181 Stanton. The billionaire estate of William Gottlieb controls the third fenced-off, keystone parcel at 139 Attorney (this land is needed for viable development).

The fresh designation caps more than three years of fighting for legitimacy in the face of development. In the interim, Siempre Verde somehow managed to outrun proposed plans by the William Gottlieb Estate to combine these three contiguous parcels for a new five-story residential building. Their plans were initially approved by Community Board 3 in 2012, but there wasn’t another follow-up until two years later; the proposal was summarily shot down in October 2014. At the time, Garden members described their toils to create this intra-tenement urban oasis. How 20 tons of debris was removed and replaced with 50 cubic-yards of fill, and all financed by the money and motivation of grants and volunteers.

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Then came added political pressure from electeds like Margaret Chin to enable said transfer.

Meanwhile, this news arrives a year after Community Board 3 backed the creation of a Lower East Side neighborhood gardens district. It’s worth noting that, until there’s change, our local gardens are still listed in city maps as vacant lots, not park land.

Sounds like we're going to get some new signage to start off the New Year. We hear that there is an impending move of…

Posted by Siempre Verde Garden on Tuesday, December 29, 2015

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