Critic: community garden proposal attracts rats
by Andrew Pavia
Apr 18, 2013 | 653 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The proposed community garden at 313 Columbia Street sparked a debate at Community Board 6 last week that ended in the eating habits of rats.

During a discussion of the proposed garden, located between Woodhull Street and Hamilton Avenue, one member of Community Board 6 said that he doesn’t want another community garden in the neighborhood.

“Rodents love fruit and they love vegetables,” Roger Rigolli, owner of Blue Ridge Tea and Herb Company on Woodhull Street, said.

He went on to discuss how, in his experience, rats and mice in the neighborhood have “metastasized” whenever a grassy area is put in.

“Enough with these gardens” Rigolli said.

He decided to speak up about his fear of rodent infestation given his past experienced with the vermin.

Rigolli said that weeds and grass that were not maintained plagued a vacant lot by his store. Rats began breeding in the lot and would terrorize his business. He said that once the lot was cleaned of all grass and weeds, the problems with the rodents was eliminated.

“In my experience, it’s not because of fruits and vegetables,” said board member Lou Sones. “The rats actually eat much more protein-oriented things.”

Currently, the site for the proposed garden is a vacant lot owned by the Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Under the proposal, the lot can be used as a garden until 2015, at which point the city will announce alternative plans for the location.

This project is part of a larger GreenThumb initiative that is supported by the Parks Department and operates over 500 community gardens. At the moment, the location is mostly concrete, however the plan is to create a garden bed that would sit on top of the surface.

Just as in other community gardens, participation is based on a first-come, first-serve basis.

In the end, the community board voted to approve the project and support the creation of the garden.

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