Residents of the H Street corridor area can cultivate flowers, tomatoes and other plants for at least another year in a nearby community garden, the executive director of a nonprofit organization that owns the property, said.
Kenneth J. Brewer Sr., executive director of the H Street Community Development Corp., granted gardeners of the Wylie Street Garden “one more season with undetermined timeline,” according to local gardner Paige Byrne in an e-mail to a neighborhood listserv. Neighborhood blog Frozen Tropics first reported on the news earlier this morning.
Brewer previously granted the garden a reprieve from possible development last July.
Read Byrne’s entire email below:
Kenneth Brewer, executive director of HSCDC grants Wylie gardeners one more season with undetermined timeline. A campaign to preserve the garden started in September of 2014 when the property was enhanced with a large for sale sign. Research from the campaign discovered the garden could mitigate one inch of storm water to support the efforts by DDOE in cleaning Anacostia. Research also determined the long term values Wylie garden could do for the community: it could install vertical harvest growing systems, serve those in need & develop skills of our youth, become a resource for chefs on H, continue to engage the students in the Reggio program of Miner ES and continue to connect our community members and could be part of the city program offered by Whole Foods. Robert, a gentlemen that mows the lawn felt a presence while mowing and reflecting on the produce of his grandothers garden in NE. How fantastic spaces on H can cause us to pause and recognize, like the Mulberry tree in the corner of Wylie garden natural spaces and things are valued and an essential.
The preservation efforts envisioned this space as a park for the people who persevered and passed through here or did not. The immigrants and shop keepers, the community of brick layers who lived on Wylie, rumored Duke Ellington who lived in an apartment or the police who did not even cruise by in the 80’s. Wylie garden, our last green asset along the HStreet corridor sits just off 13th & H where people continue to pass through like Mayor Bowser opening the trolley, the marathoner’s turning right in the final stretch and soon the customers of the open farm market, who also see Wylie garden as a resource.
Byrne, who has tended plants in the 16-plot garden since 2006, met with Brewer last year after securing more than 230 supporters in a petition to “preserve the last green block on H St. corridor.” She previously had considered raising funds to buy the land after a plan was announced to turn the property into a parking lot.
(Updated at 4:35 p.m.) Residents of the H Street corridor area can continue to grow their flowers, tomatoes and other plants for at least another year in a neighborhood garden, the executive director of a nonprofit organization that owns the property said yesterday.
Kenneth J. Brewer Sr., executive director of the H Street Community Development Corp., said in an email his group doesn’t have any “immediate plans” to develop its land between 808 and 812 13th Street NE, which is home to the Wylie Street Community Garden. But his organization could “devise some prospective development project excluding a parking lot” within a year, he said.
“HSCDC maintains site control and is very interested in working with the Wylie Community Garden to find a permanent solution,” Brewer said in an email to local gardener Paige Byrne, after he met with her about the property’s future.
When reached by phone, Brewer declined to comment on his group’s possible plans for the space.
Byrne, who has tended plants in the 16-plot garden since 2006, met with Brewer after securing more than 230 supporters in a petition to “preserve the last green block on H St. corridor.” She previously had considered raising funds to buy the land after a plan was announced to turn the property into a parking lot.
She said she was happy with the meeting she had with Brewer.
“Now we can move forward working together,” Byrne said.
Wylie Street Community Garden members are starting a nonprofit to raise funds to buy the lot from H Street Community Development Corporation, organizer Paige Bryne said.
“This is the last green space on the H Street corridor,” Bryne said about the vegetable and flower garden that’s operated at 13th and Wylie streets NE since 2002. “I think there’s good potential for us to save this land for the community.”
Bryne, who has tended plants in the 16-plot garden since 2006, said the gardeners are exploring options for grant funding.
“We would want to make it a gardening park, with nods to immigrants and the riots,” the art teacher said.
The lot is on the market for $250,000, according to HSCDC executive director Kenneth J. Brewer Sr.
“We think it’s a good time for us to market our site,” he said. “If [the gardeners] have an alternative, they should get back to us quickly.”
Bryne started a “Save Wylie Garden” petition through Change.org last week. More than 60 people had indicated support as of 2 p.m. today.
Last year, the company Rise Developments set out to buy the garden lot from HSCDC and turn it into a parking for condos. The developer dropped that plan in March 2014 following community outcry, District Source reported.
Bryne urged locals to defend the much-needed refuge from city life.
“You get here and you’re grounded,” she said. “You put on shorts, you go out there, you pick up herbs for dinner … the sun is on you — you’re just relaxed.”
Photo via Save Wylie Garden