On Thursday, February 11th, the Village Independent Democrats held their monthly meeting in St. John’s Church on Christopher Street.

Democratic party district leader Keen Berger and District leader Arthur Schwartz discussed upcoming primaries and a tentative schedule of related club activities was approved.

Jen Hoppe gave a report on the upcoming VID gala, and newly elected chair Erik Coler discussed the Voter Empowerment Act which would automatically register voters for elections.

Club member Allison Greenberg chaired the major forum for the evening—a discussion of whether the Elizabeth Street Garden should be converted to a site for senior housing. K. Webster, president of the Sara D. Roosevelt Park Coalition, advocated housing—pointing out that affordable housing, especially for seniors, is greatly needed in the rapidly gentrifying neighborhood and that alternatives to Elizabeth garden, such as Roosevelt park, are available and nearby, but proposed housing alternatives are far away and only theoretical at this time.

Community Board Chair Tobi Bergman proposed alternative locations on Hudson Street and Howard Street which could provide potentially larger sites and preserve the garden. CB2 member Jeannine Kiely supported the garden and described how beneficial it is for the neighborhood.

The presentations were followed by intense questioning and impassioned statements supporting the need for senior housing in the area and the plight of elderly neighborhood residents.

The next meeting will be on the second Thursday of March and will include a discussion of whether to make an endorsement in the presidential primary between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton.

—Alec Pruchnicki
Member of the VID executive committee

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