Information about this lot
Why is this lot here?
We posted this lot because:
This land is being stewarded by the following group:
you can see a timeline of efforts around this site here: http://www.myrtlevillagegreen.org/2012/03/a-timeline-122001-32012-of-the-advocacy-efforts-around-this-site-to-date/
How we got here:
In June 2002, the Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA), through its Percent for Arts Program, facilitated a landscape design by artist Jody Pinto that for the Shaft 21B/Block 1912 Lot 3 encompassing the entire lot. This was to be a "permanent public artwork" as mandated by the City's percent for arts law, designed to "transform Shaft Site 21B into a green space upon completion of construction." Ms. Pinto was selected by the Kent Avenue Stabilization Taskforce and her design reflected needs that the Taskforce identified when it surveyed hundreds of residents of the immediate neighborhood at the Department's request and with Brooklyn Community Board Three's cooperation between 2000 and 2001 (see notes summarizing those efforts here). Community members were so involved in the design and planning of the park that they requested that rocks found on site be saved and used in the landscaping and got the contractor for the City to agree to keep them.
On September 10, 2003, during a meeting with DCA, DEP and Ms. Pinto, NYC Department of Parks and Recreation agreed to take jurisdiction of the entire property and maintain the landscaped park for public use once construction was complete. Construction below ground was expected to be completed in Spring 2005 and the landscaping by the end of 2006. Unfortunately, the below-ground work of building the water tunnel was delayed; by 2008, Ms. Pinto's $400,000 contract lapsed before landscaping work was able to begin.
In 2010 and 2011, DEP's construction work ceased and neighbors revived efforts to create the long-awaited green space. A coalition was created, called Myrtle Village Green (MVG), to coordinate these efforts. Through it, local residents organized meetings, engaged elected officials, revived the Kent Avenue Stabilization Taskforce's efforts, launched a petition drive and activated the press. MVG members met directly with DEP Commissioner Cas Halloway and Deputy Director Matthew Mahoney. Then-City Council Member Letitia James joined her constituents in advocacy. In February 2012, although DEP still needed access to a portion of the site, Mr. Mahoney and residents developed a Parcel system to facilitate immediate access to the area that faces Myrtle Avenue; the DEP agreed to put in fences to divide the lot into "Parcels" that could be phased into community use. That same month, MVG developed a proposal for interim use of "Parcel C," as requested by Mr. Mahoney.
In March 2012, Council Member James met with DEP, Community Board 3, representatives from the Brooklyn Borough President's office, the Mayor’s Office, IMPACCT (then PACC), the Pratt Center for Community Development, and Brooklyn Community Foundation to share the community's urgency to access the long-promised green space but without any MVG or resident representatives present. MVG representatives organized a subsequent meeting at the Pratt Center in June with the same guest list to make their needs known. At that meeting, IMPACCT (then PACC) agreed to enter into a license agreement with NYC DEP to allow the Myrtle Village Green coalition to facilitation the creation of a community garden on "Parcel C." Long-term disposition of the whole site was not resolved at that time. The agreement began in July 2012. Myrtle Village Green, a 19,380 square feet volunteer-ran community garden has used "Parcel C" since then.
The next meeting that IMPACCT has arranged to discuss the future of this lot is this Thursday Dec 1, 6PM-7:30PM at Pratt Center’s Office: 536 Myrtle Avenue on the 3rd floor (PLEASE NOTE: The building’s entrance is NOT on the Myrtle Avenue side; one has to go to the other side of the building and present ID to the security desk in the lobby in order to gain entrance.)
The next meeting that IMPACCT has arranged to discuss the future of this lot is scheduled for Thursday, December 1, 2016, at 6pm at St. Lucys Catholic Church, 802 Kent Avenue. The agenda they proposed is below. IMPACCT is meeting with the DEP and their architects tomorrow to try to get some updates about the site.
IMPACCT Discuss DEP Timeline Updates (if any).
Hester Street Findings: lessons learned from the town hall garden meeting
The possibility of a permanent park (led by me/596 Acres - who wants to join me?)
Potential Housing Options: what types of housing could work in the space
The report itself is a great illustration of the current garden community and its potential to grow.
There are some misstatements of fact on the first page about the history of the organizing that got us here. PACC (now IMPACCT) actually signed the agreement to allow the garden on July 20, 2012. You can see the original agreement here: http://www.myrtlevillagegreen.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/License-Agreement-DEP-PACC-Shaft-21B-Mrytle-Village-Green.pdf The history of organizing that got this agreement signed from the perspective of neighbors is here: http://www.myrtlevillagegreen.org/2012/03/a-timeline-122001-32012-of-the-advocacy-efforts-around-this-site-to-date/
The meeting that the report refers to in the history section actually happened in March 2012. We wrote about it here at the time and encouraged community response: http://www.myrtlevillagegreen.org/2012/04/update-and-urgent-action/ Bed Stuy Patch picked up the story (http://www.myrtlevillagegreen.org/2012/04/mvg-in-the-bed-stuy-patch-residents-want-green-space-for-myrtle-village-and-they-want-it-now/) and we got another meeting, in June 2012, this time with open space advocates in the room. The agreement was negotiated at that meeting.
The section titled "About the Process" does not seem to connect to the rest of the content. That is the most important section to pay attention to as it lays out a vision for the future of the site that IMPACCT is promoting. It says:
"The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) owns large lot along Kent and Myrtle Avenues made up of three parcels (A, B, and C). Parcel A is vital for DEP because it provides them access to a water tunnel. Parcel B cannot be built on, but can be released by DEP and used for passive surface ac vi es, such as a garden. Parcel C, which as a 102’ frontage on Myrtle Ave with a commercial overlay can be built on. DEP has indicated in prior meetings that they plan to dispose of Parcel C for the construction of affordable housing. To this end, IMPACCT Brooklyn in partnership with Architecture in Forma on New York (AFNY) aims to establish a community-supported affordable housing development with mixed-income with commercial community facility space in addition to a permanent garden in Parcel B and C. IMPACCT envisions re-purposing parcel C into a mixed-use housing and community facility building and establishing parcel B into a permanent garden. IMPACCT is working with Hester Street Collaborative to design and execute a community consensus and design visioning process with stakeholders to arrive at a uni ed vision for the future of the lot."
Page 8 of the agreement linked above has a diagram of the parcels from DEP's perspective in 2012. The garden is currently on Parcel C. The DEP stated in 2012 that Parcel B will be needed for (construction) staging work starting in 2020 and until the tunnel is actually activated. The community should be aware that any plan to move the garden onto Parcel B will mean it will be closed while this staging work goes on. There is no sense of how long this work will take.
I just checked in with Sara Pecker at DEP. DEP will be renewing the agreement with Pratt Area Community Council for the garden to continue as is. Hurray!
Hey land stewards in district 33!
Your council member, Steve Levin, will be saying nice things about your spaces at our event on Thursday evening. Please let me know if you'd like me to add you or other members of your group to the guest list. It would be great to see lots of your faces in the room. Here's what Steve has agreed to speak about:
We'd love to have him attend and would really love to have him talk about the vacant-lot reclamations in his district: Java Street Community Garden, 61 Franklin Street Community Garden, the Vinegar Hill Community Garden, La Casita Verde, Myrtle Village Green, A Small Green Patch and the new GreenSpace on 4th Avenue. We'd love to feature Mr. Levin talking about the value of communities having space to determine their own programming and draw resources to themselves as part of our event. We know that groups who newly have access to space with our help and support have raised over $150,000 for building and programming these spaces in the last year.
If you send me photos, we'll project those too!
Event info is here: 596acres.org/en/news/2014/08/07/596-acres-fall-benefit-mapping-matters/
The Myrtle Village Green community is meeting on Sunday at NOON at the MVG site (636 Myrtle Ave!)
Here's the agenda:
- Key Policy
- Feedback Farms (http://feedbackfarms.com/) Proposal for creating an instant micro-farm
- August 1, 6pm event with Letitia James
- Website updates/design/committee (http://myrtlepark.org is ours to create and re-create!)
- Bulletin Board! We need one ASAP!
- Managing electronic communications (like this mailing list! and facebook!)
- Executing some/all of the 6 steps to creating a food production space (http://596acres.org/en/resources/turning-your-lot-into-a-food-production-space/ )
- Fundraising (Home Depot grant coming right up -- http://homedepotfoundation.org/page/applying-for-a-grant due August 13)
- Proposal for 596 Acres to host a screening of the film My Brooklyn (http://www.mybrooklynmovie.com/) at the site on Sept. 22
- Registering with GreenThumb for access to materials & support in the Spring (http://greenthumbnyc.org/ )
Pratt Area Community Council accepted a key from DEP today on behalf of the community! Our building process can begin now! There will be a steering committee meeting this Sunday at 12pm at the site. See you there. Everything is wide open and there is lots of room for your input and participation! Can someone post a sign on the fence with this new information?
The first official Steering Committee Meeting for this site will be on Thursday, June 14 at 6pm at the Pratt Center, 536 Myrtle Avenue. It's an open meeting -- all welcome. It looks like, with the help of the Pratt Area Community Council and the Pratt Center, the community will have access by July 1.
If you consider your self affected by how the nearly 2-acre parcel of vacant land on Myrtle Avenue and Kent is used, please email your representatives. Follow the link for instructions!
Last Tuesday, there was a meeting to discuss the status of the Myrtle Village Green site at the offices of the Brooklyn Community Foundation. Myrtle Village Green was not invited but our interests were represented by our official community advocates — Community Board 3 Chairperson Henry Butler and State Committee Representative Lincoln Restler. Also at that meeting were representatives of the Department of Environmental Protection, the office of Deputy Mayor Cas Halloway, City Council Representative Letitia James, the Pratt Center for Community Development, the Brooklyn borough president’s office, the NYC Department of City Planning and Pratt Area Community Council.
We have been told that the outcome is this: there is consensus around the fact that the Myrtle Parcel of the site is available now for a 2 or 3 year interim use project and that the Kent Avenue portion will become available for interim use in another 2 or 3 years (as a possible replacement site for when long term use development begins on Myrtle Avenue). A community planning process will determine the ultimate uses of both parcels.
But the decision of how interim use would be managed or when it would begin was left open. Our representatives, Mr. Butler and Mr. Restler, have been tasked with working with the Brooklyn Community Foundation and local residents to negotiate a fair and practicable arrangement. They have also been tasked with figuring out if Myrtle Village Green represents the interests of the important groups in the neighborhood.
Here’s what we all need to do, as soon as possible: email or call both of Mr. Butler and Mr. Restler and tell them about yourself, the groups that you are involved with and why a community space at the Myrtle Village Green site is something you value and work for. It’s time for our representatives to hear all of our individual voices and be empowered to speak for the community as a whole. Mr. Butler & Mr. Restler will soon be setting up a meeting for all stakeholders in the Myrtle Village Green site to come together. You can thank them in advance for their efforts on behalf of our community. Contact information below:
Henry Butler, District Manager
Brooklyn Community Board 3
State Committee Representative
I live just a few blocks away and would love to help out. I have a lot of experience with urban gardening, backyard chickens, and environmental activism. Is anyone currently meeting?