City issues RFP for Elizabeth Street Garden

And locals are once again fighting to save the popular sculpture garden

The Elizabeth Street Garden
The Elizabeth Street Garden

As of this summer, it looked like the Elizabeth Street Garden, the beloved sculpture-filled park in the center of Nolita, was safe. But not so fast: the future of the garden is once again uncertain.

In January, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation decided not to fund a six-story affordable housing development for senior citizens on the site. But now, the HPD has issued an official Request for Proposals to redevelop the city-owned land, according to DNAinfo.

“The Project must include affordable housing for seniors that both meets the economic needs of the community and furthers fair housing by promoting economically diverse neighborhoods,” the RFP announcement states. “The Development must also include quality commercial and/or community facility uses, as well publicly-accessible open space.”

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One of the main advocates for the development is City Council member Margaret Chin, and some locals are going on the defensive against Chin.

“We will not back down and allow real estate developers and elected officials to ignore us any longer,” Jeannine Kiely, president of Friends of Elizabeth Street Garden, said in a statement. “Council Member Chin has turned a deaf ear to her constituents, who overwhelmingly support saving Elizabeth Street Garden.”

Community Board 2 is in favor of saving the garden and has proposed that the city instead build on a city-owned water tunnel site on Hudson Street, according to Curbed. “For three years, [the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development] and Councilmember Chin have refused to work with Community Board 2 to save this beloved garden and build five times as much housing at a better site on Hudson Street,” chair Tobi Bergman told DNAinfo. [Curbed | DNAinfo]Christopher Cameron