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This community garden in the Bronx is a beloved neighborhood landmark. A new development could cast a shadow over it.

New development could cast shadow on Bronx community garden
New development could cast shadow on Bronx community garden 01:51

NEW YORK - Those who frequent a community garden in the Bronx are worried about the possible development of an apartment building impacting their growing seasons.

The River Garden in West Farms is located just steps away from the Bronx River, but also the ever-growing housing developments that seem to be popping up all over.

13-story apartment building planned for lot neighboring Bronx community garden

Garden members are worried about the next-door vacant lot, where a developer submitted a zoning application in 2022 to construct a 13-story apartment building, according to the city's planning portal.

"There needs to be housing for people, we know this. But do we need to take every square inch to do that?" said Laura James, the garden manager at River Garden.

Although it's been several years, the group says they feel in limbo with no new updates on the impacts it could have on the garden.

"The development will block the sun," James said.

The community says ideally they would love to be able to develop land on the other side of the fence and expand the garden.

"We are really hoping we can preserve as much public accessible waterfront as we can along the Bronx River, and this is an opportunity right next door," said Rafael Moure-Punnett, Community Board 6 District Manager.

The next door lot is not city property, but CBS New York reached out to the developer for comment and is still waiting to hear back.

The Parks Department, who helps maintain the garden, tells CBS New York in a statement:

"Our community gardens serve as essential greenspaces for New Yorkers to connect with each other and engage in volunteer activities to steward these gardens across the city. We are committed to supporting the continued activities of the River Garden and its gardening group, which provide important urban gardening opportunities for the neighborhood."

"There's sort of a group of us that are really interested in seeing this area and the Bronx River preserved," said James.

Community garden offers learning opportunities for Bronx students

The love for the garden is obvious for a group of fifth grade students from P.S. 531. They come every Thursday and learn how to plant and tend the fresh fruits and vegetables for local residents.

"It's peaceful and it's really quiet and it's really fun," said one of the students.

"This garden does provide a lot of warmth to the neighborhood. It's really a landmark here. It's been here for 50 years," James said.

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