This morning, Melissa joined Parks Commissioner Benepe, Speaker Quinn, Senator Perkins and community gardeners to announce that the Parks Department has published revised rules regarding community gardens, which provide stronger protections for gardens than the previous version. The event was held at the William B. Washington Garden on West 126th Street.
Under the new version, all community gardens that are active and meeting the terms of their license will remain as gardens and will have their licenses renewed. Additionally, when a garden becomes inactive, Parks will identify a successor garden group that will return it to active status within nine months.
“The revised rules published today represent a major step forward in the protection of our community gardens, even as we continue to explore strategies that will make these gardens a permanent part of our neighborhoods,“ said Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito. “In presenting these revised rules, the Parks Department and the Bloomberg administration have demonstrated the value and importance of bringing stakeholders to the table and taking their concerns into account. I would like to thank Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Benepe, as well as Speaker Quinn for her leadership on this issue, and in particular, all of the gardeners who have played an active role in this process.”
These rules will take the place of a 2002 agreement between the City and the NYS Attorney General which is set to expire this month. While these rules provide important protections in the immediate term, Melissa will continue to work with the Speaker’s Office and gardeners to develop a longer term plan that will make community gardens permanent in our city. Various approaches are currently under review and consideration. Stay tuned for more details.