The grass apparently is greener.
Facing concerns from city Parks Department staff over the poor condition of the grass in McCarren Park, the McCarren Greenarket is moving to Driggs and North 12th in mid-October, taking their farm fresh produce with them.
“It’s going to require people to walk an extra block and a half,” said Michael Hurwitz, director of the city’s Greenmarkets, which manages the market. “I know it’s not as convenient from Greenpoint and we don’t want to send a message that we’re moving further away, but it’s the best location for offering programming and possibilities to grow it.”
At a Community Board 1 Parks Committee meeting on September 3, Hurwitz made his case to about two dozen community members to approve the move to the southern edge of the park, near the McCarren dog run.The committee approved the motion, which included the demapping of a section of Union Street near Driggs where the vendors would be located, and the full board will vote on the measure this week.
Parks officials informed Greenmarket staff in May 2008 that they would need to move farmers vendors to another part of the park in order to reseed the northern tract of the park.Hurwitz lobbied for a location that would allow them the opportunity to expand the number of vendors without interfering with the maintenance of park sod.
“We worked with parks, lets hold off on that until October, so we can properly notify the public that we have to move,” said Hurwitz.
Parks officials have been planning the reseeding for several months, as part of regular maintenance for the park, which has seen its turf kicked up and damaged from heavy year round usage.According to North Brooklyn Parks Director Stephanie Thayer, McCarren has the highest usage levels per square foot in Brooklyn, and is one of the busiest parks in the city.
“Parks is delighted to be able to reseed and regreen another area of McCarren and additionally this gives us the opportunity to see on a trial basis how the demapping of Union Street would work on a more permanent basis,” said Thayer.
CB1 Parks Committee member Dewey Thompson approved the move, despite cautioning about the difficulties it would bring to the Greenpoint-Williamsurg Youth Soccer League access its storage shed on the weekends.
“It is a terrific transition step towards permanently demapping Union between Driggs and North 12thand a perfectly suitable use for the street, especially considering the fact that, for years, the Greenmarket, while offering the community much-needed fresh greens has been crushing some of the highly endangered green grass in the park,” said Thompson.
Some vendors and Greenmarket staff have been grumbling that they may lose money when the move begins, due to less pedestrian traffic in the area, but Hurwitz believes that people will come to the new location and they will be able to add new programming to the demapped streets.
“No farmer wants to move their location and you never know what will happen with the move.If we have to move, this is the best second location in the park,” said Hurwitz.“I want to make sure we have a good home and this will be a good home.”
©2009 Community News Group
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