CROWN HEIGHTS — A realty company has closed the Roger That community garden in Crown Heights this week following a ruling earlier this spring that granted the owners permission to evict the group, gardeners and their attorney said.
Members of the community garden have been fighting eviction by TYC Realty, which holds a deed on the space at 115 Rogers Ave. and Park Place, for about a year and a half, said attorney Paula Segal of the advocacy group 596 Acres.
But the group lost that battle in late March when a housing court judge ruled TYC had the right to evict the gardeners, who were given 30 days to leave the community garden maintained by volunteers since 2011.
Now, the realty company has painted over colorful “Save the Garden” murals on the garden’s fences and boarded up and padlocked the garden’s entrance. On Wednesday, workers were also removing plaster adorned by an iconic, multi-story mural created by the Crown Heights Youth Collective adjacent to the green space.
It’s unclear what TYC plans to do with the property in the immediate future. Inquiries to a representative of the company were not returned Wednesday and no work permits have been filed recently at the site, according to city records. TYC had previously submitted a plan to the city to building a four-story residential property on the lot, which was rejected by the Department of Buildings this year, records show.
A view inside the Roger That garden shows work materials where the garden used to be. Workers, not pictured, had also removed parts of a large wall mural adjacent to the garden. (DNAinfo/Rachel Holliday Smith)
Before any work can be done, however, Segal said nearly $250,000 in tax liens on the property must be resolved in an ongoing foreclosure case for the Rogers Avenue lot.
Gardeners have made several previous attempts to fundraise to buy the property from TYC (the company once requested $1 million for the lot) or through the Brooklyn Queens Land Trust, but those efforts have stalled, Roger That members said.
A judge is set to decide whether or not to put the property up for public auction at a hearing on June 28, Segal said.