A Sustainable Future for Elizabeth Street Garden

Elizabeth Street Garden (ESG) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit with the mission to: Protect & preserve the magic of Elizabeth Street Garden as a public community green space and to determine how NYC Parks & Recreation together with the community can protect the space for generations to enjoy.

ESG wants to save the Garden you all know and love!  For this reason, we aim to protect & preserve the Garden in a way that allows the unique qualities, statuary, and architectural aspects to remain, while providing the public open green space our community desperately needs. 

Below you will find  different models of how our community can save the Garden, as well as ESG's plan for a sustainable future. Please note that before any of these options can be fully pursued, we must stop the City's plans to destroy the Garden.

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NYC PARK - Mapped park land (MPL)

 

How

  • The land would be transferred from DCAS into Parks.
  • ESG would be saved in perpetuity.
  • No record of Community Gardens founded by community becoming MPL.**
  • "It’s highly unlikely that NYC Parks will designate ESG as MPL".**

Access/Hours

  • ESG would be open dawn to 1am, or otherwise designated by Parks.

Physical Space

  • As a NYC Park - none of the statuary or architechtual elements in the garden would be able to exist.  All would be removed.**
  • Any monuments on MPL would have to be accepted in the City’s collection and reinstalled, costing thousands.**
  • The planting of any tree, plant, flower, shrubbery or other vegetation requires written approval from Parks.

Community Involvement

  • Less then now.
  • The Garden would have to abide by Parks regulations.
  • Parks would manage the space with staff.

Financing 

  • The Garden would be funded by the City.
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Green Thumb Garden (GT)

 

How

  • ESG would be transferred to Parks department, but the land would not be official MPL.
  • While ESG wouldn’t be saved “in perpetuity,” GT gardens are rarely taken out of Parks and destroyed.**
  • Licensed garden status offers greater protection and if ever threatened, the community would be heavily involved in the process.** 

Access/hours

  • ESG would manage hours - same as now (46hrs/wk) or more. 
  • With ESG no longer having to fight to save the Garden, we could focus our funds towards keeping the Garden open longer.
  • The requirement for GT is 20hrs/wk.

Physical space

  • GT garden rules are looser than MPL and could allow for most of the unique qualities, statuary and architechtual aspects of the Garden to remain.**  
  • Gardening plots would remain for public gardening/farming.

Community Involvement 

  • As is or more.
  • ESG would still manage the space with neighbors, volunteers and staff.

Financing 

  • ESG would continue to raise funds.
  • ESG would continue developing a plan to occasionally rent the Garden for private events/photoshoots in order to raise significant funds.
  • GT gardens are eligible to receive gardening supplies and resources throughout the year.
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Community land trust (CLT)

 

how

  • A CLT is a nonprofit corporation that develops & stewards spaces on behalf of the community.
  • CLT’s can be grafted onto existing nonprofits, such as ESG.
  • As a CLT, ESG would own the land and continue to program and keep the garden open to the public.
  • The ways in which the land is acquired can vary.  Examples include: lease agreements, public land sales and land easements.
  • ESG could also partner with an existing CLT.

Access/hours

  • ESG would manage hours - same as now (46hrs/wk) or more.
  • A requirement could also be negotiated by the City and Community Board.
  • With ESG no longer having to fight to save the Garden, we could focus our funds towards keeping the Garden open longer.

physical space

  • As a CLT the unique qualities, statuary and architechtual aspects of the Garden would remain.
  • Gardening plots would remain for public gardening/farming.

Community involvement

  • As is or more.
  • ESG would own the land and manage the space with neighbors, volunteers, and staff.
  • ESG would continue to expand upon community involvement.

Financing

  • ESG would continue to raise funds.
  • ESG would continue developing a plan to occasionally rent the Garden for private events/photoshoots in order to raise significant funds.
  • The City wouldn't have to spend any money at all.

**Statements obtained from a Senior NYC Parks Community Outreach & Development Representative.