After a brief presentation at last week's CB1 meeting in front of the Parks & Waterfront Committee, given by Stella Goodall and supported by some terrific graphics and presentation materials created by Rena Mande, Amanda Rekemeyer and Phil Grimaldi of DSGN AGNC, we have pretty much been given the green light to temporarily take up residence at 59 Java Street in Greenpoint.
We were joined at the meeting by fellow group members Susan Marie Kosor and Manuel Zuniga; also in attendance was our advocate from Green Thumb, Roland Chouloute. The main concern in discussion was the temporal nature of this particular lot which has apparently already been RFP'd (Request for Proposal) by the North Brooklyn Development Corporation for affordable housing; it seems the hold-up has been funding and which could be long- or short-term in coming. We had the opportunity at last Thursday's meeting to meet Rich Mazur, Executive Director of NBDC, who says he would support our efforts as a temporary garden project. He also suggested that, as we have had such an overwhelming response from potential volunteers, that we might also take a look at his Dupont Street community garden for overflow involvement.
In the past, groups have been granted "temporary" access to vacant public land only to be asked some time later to vacate under very similar circumstances. Once groups get entrenched and gain the support and attachment of the surrounding neighborhood, it can be very hard for everyone involved to simply move on. We already knew we'd be up against this and rather than try to dig our heels in against the inevitable decided to embrace it, giving birth to the vision of a "roving garden group".
Ours is not the only vacant lot in this predicament of having laid in waste for years waiting for something to happen and in the meanwhile becoming a blight on the surrounding area, collecting trash, overgrown weeds and generally bringing down the quality of life to that particular block. Our vision is to create a template for creating a productive active space for all in a short amount of time and then being able to easily and quickly move on to the next such project when the time comes.
We are past the halfway mark in our fundraising campaign going with ioby.org and we encourage you to consider giving, however small an amount, and to share it to help us meet our goal:
...so we can effectively break ground and get going this spring!