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Empty Dutch Kills Lot Gets $20K For Community Garden


May 26, 2016 By Michael Florio

A group of Queens residents who are turning a vacant Dutch Kills lot into a community garden were awarded a $20,000 grant last week.

The Windmill Community Garden, located at 39-22 29th Street, was one of 16 parks to win the grant provided by the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) and The Walt Disney Company.

The contest ran through the month of April and allowed the public to cast their vote for the park they wanted to win, according to the NRPA. It was the only park in New York to be awarded a grant.

The property was privately owned until the city took it over in the 1980s, according to real estate records.

The Parks Dept. took control of the lot this year after the group put pressure on elected officials to turn it into a community garden given the shortage of park space in the area.

The group—comprised of the Dutch Kills Civic Association, Flux Factory and Growing Up Green Charter School—plan to use the money to create a pathway in the garden and possibly for a front gate, according to Jean Cawley, the garden’s vice president.

The group is currently in the process of planting trees, Cawley said.

The garden is typically closed to the public but does have open hours.

The garden will be open on Monday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., Thursday from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., Friday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., according to Cawley.

She said the garden will expand its hours and offer at least 20 open hours each week.

“The public will get to come and enjoy the space,” she said. “We may offer programs that will allow them to get their hands dirty, planting, but we haven’t formalized that yet.”

Cawley said in the future the plan is to turn the garden into a gathering spot for the Dutch Kills community.

“We want to host cultural and art events,” she said.

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