Greenspace gurus to open new Bushwick community garden

Aberdeen garden
Green space advocates want to transform an overgrown lot they use for storage into a community garden at Aberdeen Street in Bushwick.
Courtesy of New York Restoration Project

Bushwick is due for a new $720,000 community garden courtesy of state revitalization funds, which will serve the neighborhood as both an oasis for green thumbs and an outdoor events center, according to a project rep. 

“People would like a space where they can do some gardening,” said Gary Dearborn, an architect with New York Restoration Project, told Community Board 4’s Parks and Recreation committee meeting on Thursday. “They’re also interested in, ‘Can we host our organization on your property? Could we host a jobs fair? Could we host a composting demonstration for other like-minded folks? Could we teach people how to prune fruit trees? Could we have artist exhibits?’”

The nonprofit garden builder currently uses the 50-by-200-foot space on Aberdeen Street between Bushwick Avenue and the Evergreens Cemetery to store trucks and equipment used to maintain other community lawns in the area, according to Dearborn. 

Now, the greenery advocates want to revamp the lot into a sprawling communal space courtesy of Governor Cuomo’s “Vital Brooklyn” initiative — a $1.4 billion revitalization fund that features $3.1 million earmarked for 20 community gardens across the borough — with construction starting in fall 2020, and wrapping by the end of that year, Dearborn said.

An initial draft design shows how the garden will be divided into three sections with a garden, plaza, and storage space.

Courtesy of New York Restoration Project

According to a draft design Dearborn presented at the committee, the planned new park will be divided into three parts — including a section for fruit trees and garden plots bordering Aberdeen Street. 

In the middle of the space, the group is hoping to build an open plaza with picnic tables and a restroom inside a shipping container — which would also have a canopy extending out of it to provide shade on sunny days. 

The rear section of the space would continue to provide car parking and storage for the organization, but that area could be cleared for special events, Dearborn said.

Once completed, the park will be open for at least 20 hours a week — and the gardeners plan to provide neighbors with keys to access and tend to the space, according to Dearborn.

Bushwick residents enjoy less open space as compared to the rest of the city, with a ratio of only 0.7 acres per 1000 residents, compared to the citywide average of 1.5 acres, according to a study published amid a rezoning proposal, called the Bushwick Community Plan, created by local community groups.