At least 15 community gardens on city-owned property could be bulldozed to make way for new buildings under the de Blasio administration's affordable housing plan, community advocates said.
The Department of Housing Preservation and Development published a list this week of city-owned sites that housing developers can apply to build on, shocking those who tend to and enjoy the green spaces.
Developers were asked to submit proposals for nearly 180 sites — which could include rentals for families earning nearly $140,000 a year and paying $3,000 in rent — by Feb. 19.
John McBride, one of the residents who helped Morningside Heights' Electric Ladybug Garden get off the ground, was surprised Thursday when he found the city had already padlocked his block's space.
"We were just getting ready to start planting for the spring and now it's padlocked," said McBride, 46, who was part of a two-year labor-intensive effort to clear rubble from the vacant lot on his West 111th Street block and replace it with clean topsoil from the Parks Department's Green Thumb this summer.
McBride said he understood the de Blasio administration's "huge commitment to housing," but he didn't understand why the city was targeting lots with flourishing gardens when it owned other parcels of land that were sitting truly fallow.
Of more than 1,000 HPD-owned vacant lots, approximately 74 have community gardens, according to research from 596 Acres, the nonprofit that helped provide technical support to transform Electric Ladybug.