Rep. Maloney Joins the Lower East Side Community to Call for the Passage of H.R.4197, The Revitalizing Cities Through Parks Enhancement (RECIPE) Act

Sep 8, 2019
Press Release

NEW YORK, NY ​– Today, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12) joined elected officials, community leaders, and representatives from local community gardens to call for passage of H.R.4197 - the Revitalizing Cities Through Parks Enhancement (RECIPE) Act. This landmark legislation would establish a $10 million grant program to help non-profit groups create small community gardens and parks. Open community spaces are a critical part of urban infrastructure and have been integral to the fabric of the Lower East Side, yet too many communities to do not have the space or resources to create them. The RECIPE Act has the power to transform vacant lots across the country into gardens and parks and provide much needed areas for children and residents to gather and play. It is important that we give more communities the opportunity to create new green spaces, beautify their neighborhoods, and improve the lives of residents.


“Urban communities in New York City and throughout our nation are in dire need of safe, green spaces. Many cities do not have the space or funding to create community parks and gardens, but have municipally owned lots that go untouched. I introduced the RECIPE Act so that these vacant lots can be transformed into open community spaces to beautify neighborhoods, increase property values, and provide areas for residents to enjoy. The beauty of La Plaza Cultural de Armando Perez Garden and the many community gardens of the Lower East Side represent what good we can do for neighborhoods at home in New York and across the country with the passage of the RECIPE Act,” said Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12).


“Parks, gardens, and accessible natural resources are essential to a livable New York City. In the neighborhoods I represent, including the East and West Villages, this is especially true. Every small plot of unused land is an opportunity to create green space for locally grown food, fresh air instead of noise pollution, and a chance to connect with nature as a respite from city living. I applaud Congresswoman Maloney for her advocacy on behalf of our community and look forward to working alongside her and our fellow elected officials to see the RECIPE Act signed into law," said State Senator Brad Hoylman. 


“I represent an Assembly District with a long history of community led efforts to reclaim and expand open public space in the form of community gardens. These gardens embody the Lower East Side’s spirit of collaboration, creativity, and solidarity and have been epicenters of activism and ideal places for neighbors to congregate. I want to thank Congresswoman Maloney for introducing the RECIPE Act, which would help more communities in our city, state, and across the country to bring the benefits of community gardens into their lives,” said Assemblymember Harvey Epstein.


“Green space is precious in New York City, and community gardens are treasured in their neighborhoods,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “Parks and gardens are essential to a good quality of life, and I thank Congresswoman Maloney for her leadership on this issue, and for her work on the RECIPE act.”


“I want to thank Congresswoman Maloney for reintroducing the RECIPE Act, which would be so critical for the survival of our community gardens. The $10 million grant program this bill would establish wouldn’t just help New York – it would be a boon for urban communities across the country that for decades have been subject to environmental injustice and racism,” said Councilwoman Carlina Rivera. “Gardens are the seeds of our environmental reclamation - and it’s long past time we start planting those seeds.”


“The passage of the RECIPE Act is common sense and much needed. I’m thankful to Congresswoman Maloney for leading this charge so that communities can have access to public space and continue to build vibrant neighborhoods,” said John Blasco, District Leader, 74th Assembly District.


“For decades there have been mayors trying to take our gardens, we have without hesitation fought back. There was a time when local government abandoned this community and all we had were empty lots filled with rubble, people like Carmen Pabon took it upon herself to beautify the community and make a safe green space for her daughters and anyone she could find that needed help. We need to continue that fight and ensure that our spaces are accessible for children to learn and play, a place to collaborate with others because it is the foundation of this community,” said Aura Olavarria, District Leader, 74th Assembly District.


“Creating community gardens is a positive response to climate change and extreme weather events. Green spaces cool the planet and give the community a natural, healthy resource. Planting is an act of faith in the future. Community gardeners believe that people working together can make a better world,” said Charles Krezell, President of Loisaida United Neighborhood Gardens (LUNGS).


“Parks and gardens like La Plaza nourish the bodies and minds of New Yorkers, providing fresh food as well as pockets of nature and serenity in the hectic grind of city life. These spaces also help to stitch our communities together by making room for the arts, events and activism. At a time when it can feel like our country and our world are coming apart at the seams, we need more of these spaces to reflect and repair in,” said Matthew Arnold, Volunteer for La Plaza Cultural de Armando Perez Garden Center.



Qualified community organizations will receive grants for the establishment of community open space in urban areas from the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Grants made under this Act to any single qualified community organization in any one fiscal year may not exceed $250,000.

Only nonprofit community organizations which have histories of serving the community, maintain accountability to residents of the community through significant representation on the organizations governing board, are involved in activities to better the neighborhood, and comply with standards of financial accountability required by the Secretary are eligible for such grants.

In order to be eligible for these grants, municipal property which is located in an urban area must be free of structures, owned by the unit of general local government in which the property is located, and subject to a binding commitment that makes the property available for use and improvement under this Act as community open space for at least seven years.

These grants may be used for the establishment of community open space (including beautification, construction or installation of facilities for improvements for such property, clearance, demolition, removal, design and site improvements), to lease or otherwise obtain the use of eligible municipal real property for establishment of community open space, to maintain community open space, to cover other administrative costs related to the establishment, development, maintenance, administration, or management of the community open space, except that not more than 10 percent of any single grant made under this Act may be used for costs under these specific uses.