By transforming an unused, inaccessible city-owned parcel of land into a community-run gardening and passive recreation space, a group of local stakeholders will create a new public amenity. Our group has representation from residents, local public schools, churches, and community-based organizations.
A community green space would mitigate the impacts of vehicular traffic by reducing the amount of particulate matter in the air with new plantings and trees. Community residents of all stripes will benefit from having access to a space that acts as a physical barrier from the visual and audial assault of traffic. Also, as someone in our coalition recently said, we need a “non-Facebook” space in which to interact with and get to know our diverse set of neighbors.
The composting station that we will create on the site will divert waste from landfills by giving local households a viable, practical opportunity to collect and donate household food waste. We will use the compost “returns” to fertilize the fruit and vegetable gardens that will be on the site. Gardening on the site will improve access to healthy, fresh food and provide a laboratory for informal education for community members about gardening and related topics.
Since early 2011, we’ve been meeting regularly to mobilize residents, community organizations, and elected officials around reactivating a portion of the Department of Environmental Protection-owned site for community use. We recently met with DEP’s Associate Commissioner for Intergovernmental Affairs to discuss how to move this forward. Per his suggestion, we formally submitted a letter to DEP outlining our intentions for use of the site. We hope to sign an MOU in the coming weeks and gain access to the site by as early as March 2012.
After getting access to the site, we will immediately organize a clean-up event to remove litter. The next steps for the rest of March and April will be coordinating volunteer labor to acquire materials and build raised beds, composting and rainwater catchment systems, a tool box, benches and tables. By early June, the green space and garden should be in full swing!
why we're doing it
Located in the northwest corner of Bedford Stuyvesant, our project site is situated in a neighborhood with many environmental burdens. Omnipresent vehicular traffic is the most evident of these burdens for local residents, thanks to the rumbling traffic of the BQE two blocks north and the busy transit corridors of Myrtle, Kent, and Franklin Avenues that frame the site. Myrtle and Franklin have MTA bus routes, and Myrtle and Kent are designated truck routes. The resulting noise, pollution and unsafe conditions for pedestrians (and bikers) negatively affect everyone in the area, regardless of background or socioeconomic status.
Our project also seeks to address the lack of open green space in our neighborhood. The nearest parks with actual green space are well over half a mile away from our site, a distance which prevents many seniors and young children (and their families) from enjoying them with any regularity.
Since it will have space designated for planting fruits and vegetables, this project will also address the fact that many people in our neighborhood cannot afford the relatively high cost of fresh, healthy produce. Finally, we will help divert waste from landfills with our on-site composting system.
Item Quantity Price Vendor Total Shovels 8 $15.00 Home Depot $120.00 Hoes 4 $15.97 Home Depot $63.88 Pitch forks 3 $20.00 Home Depot $60.00 Axe 1 $40.00 Home Depot $40.00 Hoses & connections (150 ft.) 2 $34.97 Home Depot $69.94 Rakes 3 $25.97 Home Depot $77.91 Wheel barrows 2 $89.99 Amazon.com $179.98 Gloves for kids 30 $1.97 Home Depot $59.10 Gloves for adults 20 $1.97 Home Depot $39.40 project total = 710 ioby fee = $57 total to raise = $767
Total raised = $1,000
ioby fee = $74.07
Total disbursed to group = $925.93
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Mary Beth B.