Gardeners who have tilled a Crown Heights plot for eight years are scrambling to come up with cash to buy the lot back from a realtor who might uproot the veggie patch.
The Roger That Community Garden on the corner of Rogers Avenue and Park Place started up in 2006 after a community group successfully petitioned the city to tear down an abandoned plumbing supply store that stood on the site. A company called TYC Realty bought the property’s tax lien, a kind of provisional deed, in December. Developers have razed community gardens countless times throughout the borough, most recently in Coney Island and Boerum Hill, but one green thumb was nevertheless blind-sided by the sale.
“I’ve lived here my entire life and I’ve never seen anything like this happen in New York City,” said Emily-Bell Dinan, one of the garden’s founders.
Dinan and other garden members, who estimate that the property is worth about $80,000, sent a $15,000 offer to TYC Realty last week, the catch being that the group does not yet have the money to back it up. It is looking for donations and holding a party fund-raiser on April 12 at Shoestring Press, on Classon Avenue near Bergen Street.
The garden is an oasis for a street and city that is otherwise beset by gentrification, Dinan said.
“It’s excruciatingly painful and it’s really hard to have your neighbors taken away, to know that there’s so much insecurity,” she said. “I’m just tired of rolling over for it.”
TYC Realty did not respond to repeated requests for comment.