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Residents battle over sale of church’s garden

The Brooklyn Paper
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If you can’t beat ’em, buy ’em.

That was one strategy put forward by opponents of the Church of Gethsemane’s planned sale of its garden on the corner of Eighth Avenue and 10th Street.

About 15 people met last week in a brownstone near the vacant lot to plot a strategy to stop the impending sale — and one idea that emerged was to raise millions to buy the site and forever protect it from development.

Raising that kind of money to save a small lot one block from Brooklyn’s best park isn’t easy — so members of the so-called “churchyard coalition” asked representatives from the offices of City Councilman Bill DeBlasio (D–Park Slope) and Assemblyman Jim Brennan (D–Park Slope) to pony up some funds from the state’s pork pool.

But both reps — Phil Jones for DeBlasio and Ann Schaetzel for Brennan — said raising that kind of green is next to impossible, and that the church, which ministers to former prisoners and the indigent, is free to sell its holdings to raise money for its mission.

Residents vowed to block any attempt by the buyer — whose identity has not been released — to rezone the lot or secure curb cuts that would eliminate one or two street parking spaces.

Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010
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