West 104th Street Garden

January 13, 2010

Garden Wall Reconstruction – Vote on Reroute

Filed under: Notices — by west104garden @ 9:41 am

Re: Vote on West Garden, Southeast Wall Reconstruction

On Wednesday, January 6, 2010, several gardeners from the Steering, Maintenance, West Garden and Greenthumb committees* met with the Parks Department and contractor in the West Garden to discuss the wall reconstruction.

Our discussion was productive and we were impressed by the vendor’s concern to as do as little harm as possible during the wall reconstruction.

As most of you know, the purpose of this meeting was two-fold:

1. To develop the least intrusive/disruptive route for the contactor’s equipment
2. To review the job site with the contractor and Parks apprising both of our concerns and hopes.

To summarize the meeting: We walked around the site and described the three routes discussed at our regular garden meeting. 1. Straight back along the lawn with a left turn behind the rose arbor, 2. Across the lawn with a diagonal left turn between the shed and arbor, 3. Along the rear yard of 12 W. 104th street with an approach through the east lot. Parks and the contractor rejected this third option as impractical but suggested one of their own.

Based on this meeting and additional private discussion among our garden team we are now unanimous in supporting the approach route suggested by the contractor. Since I’d ardently opposed a more invasive version of this plan some months ago, the others asked me to make the case for this literal change in direction.

First, the Contractor’s proposed route: straight back through the front fence of the Western Garden, parallel to the west wall of 12 W. 104th St. directly through one line of individual beds—those nearest 12 W. 104th St.

Reroute Diagram

Reroute Diagram

This approach will require the dismantling of a line of five individual beds as well as a stretch of plantings along the front fence. It will provide a space wide enough for the contractor’s equipment (about 10 feet). No turns will be made, thus minimizing the possibility of additional damage; with the exception of some of the plantings along the front fence, it will not damage any communal areas — the lawn, the herb bed, the center flower bed, the root system of the American Elm tree or the fig that would have been hit in the other paths. In addition this route protects the cold frame, rose arbor and shrubs around the water barrels. When the project is finished, Parks will get us replacement topsoil.

I don’t wish to underestimate the amount of work it will take to rebuild what will be removed or the hardship for those whose beds are displaced temporarily – my own is one of them — but we firmly believe it is better for the garden to contain the area of disruption.

Again let’s not candy coat our situation: There is no good approach to the reconstruction site other than from the sky and setting the western lot to right will require the effort of all of us working together. But as co-chairs of maintenance for some years, Frank and I agree (along with the others) that this approach is the one we think will work out the best for the garden and prove least damaging.

But the decision is yours. We will only tell the contractor to use this route if we have your support. We welcome hearing your concerns and comments and will listen to your gripes too – just this once. Because it is winter and a vote in the garden isn’t practical, we ask that you respond by email to the following question:

Do you support the contractor’s proposed route through the West garden as outlined above?

Yes___ No___ Abstain___

Please email your vote and comments to Paula McKenzie (paulatb2@verizon.net) by next Friday, January 15, so we can get back to Parks Dept.


Jean Jaworek

* In attendance: Maintenance Committee Co-Chairs Frank Grech and Jean Jaworek, Steering Committee members: Ann Levine, Janice Vrana and Paula McKenzie, Greenthumb Contact, Lucille Murovich, West Garden Co-Chair, Suzanne Charlé and a representative from Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito’s office.


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