A discussion of how we can increase the security our local food supply at a time when rising fuel costs, climate change and political turmoil make it particularly vulnerable. As seen through the lens of the Imani Gardens, located at 1680 Pacific Street and 87-91 Schenectady Street.
Since at least the Bloomberg administration, NYC has been aggressivlely trying to paint itself as being "green". The building codes are now requiring many green features and incentivising builders to add even more. Builders get additional buildable square feet for adding water storage tanks on site and get tax credits for adding solar panels. Bloomberg launched the "Million Tree" initialive and much progress has been made towards that goal. PlanNYC initiated by Bloomberg and recently updated by DeBlasio calls for every NYer to be within a ten minute walk of green space.
Yet when the sustainability agenda collides that of real estate developers, guess who get thrown under the bus? As you may already know, Imani Garden II at 1680 Pacfic Street, an established community garden with 13 raised beds, water storage system and greenhouse was put on a list along with 18 other gardens sent to developers as sites for "affordable" housing.
Now we learned that, in a process still unclear to us, on June 18th, 89 Schenectady Avenue, the middle of three lots that comprise Imani I Garden, was sold to a private investor for the sum of $365,000. In conducting a difficult referee sale, the community was overlooked and is now paying the price! Let us bring this great error to Comptroller Scott Stringer’s attention. Let him know that Crown Heights is who is suffering most from this dispute. The other side lots in Imani are owned by the New York Restoration Project. If this sale goes forward on August 3rd, Imani will be effectively cut into two pieces, and the 60 foot willow pictured above, an icon in Weeksville for a very long time, will be cut down.
To allow time for our elected officials to save the tree and the lot, please ask Comptroller Scott Stringer to halt the closing. Scott’s hot line number is 212-669-3916. Ask him to stop the sale so that the erroneous liens can be rescinded.
Also contact Stephanie Zimmerman, Council member Robert Cornegy’s Chief of Staff at 718-919-0740 x 106. Ask her to have the Council set aside money to reimburse the City for the sale price of 89 Schenectady.
We are working on an on-line petition and Facebook page to address this injustice. Stay tuned for further developments.
Imani I street view. Weeping willow now has a lot to cry about!
Imani II raised beds and water storage tank