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Crown Heights Community Garden Boarded Up as Members Protest

By Rachel Holliday Smith | June 27, 2014 5:52pm | Updated on June 30, 2014 8:18am
 A real estate developer boarded up a community garden in Crown Heights on Thursday.
Roger That Community Garden Boarded Up
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CROWN HEIGHTS — Members of a local community garden are trying to negotiate to save their flowers and vegetables after a real estate company walled off their plot on Rogers Avenue and Park Place.

Residents who maintain Roger That Community Garden tried to stop contractors from putting up wooden boards on the fence around the small empty lot on Thursday, said Emily-Bell Dinan, 28, a member of the garden.

After hours haggling with the workers and a representative from TYC Real Estate, the developer who bought the property in 2013, the group agreed to meet with the real estate company at a later date to hash out a solution for the space. But communication has never been TYC’s strong suit, Dinan said.

“We’ve been asking them for six months to communicate,” since the group was notified they must vacate the lot earlier this yearshe said. This time, however, they “have it in writing” that TYC is willing to discuss “an exit strategy.”

“We need to move the plants,” she said.

The group has raised $15,000 since January to put toward buying the land back from TYC, but the real estate developer has never responded to the group’s offer, according to a representative from the Brooklyn Queens Land Trust, a community garden conservation group working with Roger That.

No permits have been filed for new construction at the Roger That site according to property records, though plans to build a "construction fence for site protecton" were approved by the Department of Buildings on June 25.

When reached by phone, Steve Billings of TYC would not comment on why the garden was boarded up or what the group planned to do with the plot, but said he would discuss all of that at a meeting with Dinan and the land trust soon.

In the meantime, Dinan said the boards have not covered the garden’s gate, so members will still be able to get in and out to tend their plots during the growing season.