NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A Brooklyn neighborhood is taking stand against flowers.

Residents are fighting the city to block a proposed idea that would break up most of their sidewalks in order to install rain gardens.

New York City rain garden renderings. (Credit: DEP)

Sonny Soave says sidewalk space is already limited in his Dyker Heights neighborhood. Now, things could get worse with the city is looking to install hundreds of rain gardens around the area.

A massive one could soon take up most of the space in front of Soave’s house.

“You have to walk single file,” the Brooklyn resident said.

The rain garden will leave only four feet of space to walk by.

Dyker Heights sidewalks, before proposed rain gardens take up a large portion of that space. (Credit: CBS2)

“We have a school down there that has 4,000 kids, how are they going to pass down here? Where do we put our trash? In the street?” Soave asked.

The Department of Environmental Protection says the gardens are made to absorb millions of gallons of storm water that would otherwise spill into the sewers and contaminate area waterways.

Some are in favor of this concept. “I think it’s very pretty, it will make it look nice around here,” one resident said.

Many locals however, expect it to be a complete disaster.

“Really, who is going to take care of it? That’s my biggest concern,” Joann Marino argued.

One Dyker Heights resident wishes the changes came with a warning, since he just paid for a concrete job in front of his house.

“Cost me $4,000 and that is going to be gone, I may have well just thrown it out the window,” Joseph Amore told CBS2.

It’s also a nightmare for another man, since he tripped over one of the city’s rain gardens last year and the surgery from the accident left him with a scar.

Steve Kolanjin, scarred by a rain garden accident. (Credit: CBS2)

“I am afraid of tripping over it again,” Steve Kolanjin said.

“It makes you feel like we don’t have a say in what’s going on,” John DeAngelo added.

Nearly 150 neighbors signed a peittion to put an end to it, but the agency says they will still plan on starting construction in 2022.

City workers don’t plan on installing the rain gardens in front of homes with handicapped residents.

DEP officials say the New York harbor is cleaner today than it has been since the Civil War and claim efforts like the controversial rain garden help keep it that way.


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