Alternatives to Housing in Brooklyn Bridge Park – Two Public Meetings Being Held

Brooklyn Bridge Park Committee on Alternatives to Housing will be holding two meetings in the coming weeks offering an opportunity for the public to testify on “alternative sources of revenue that could finance operations of the park in lieu of revenues from the Pier 6 and John Street development sites.”

Dates & locations are:

Tuesday, November 30th 6-8 p.m.
Long Island College Hospital, 339 Hicks Street
Avram Conference Center, 1st floor

Thursday, December 9th, 6-8 p.m.
St. Francis College, 180 Remsen Street
Founders Hall Auditorium, 1st floor

Previously at WSP Blog, I wrote about this park which borders the waters on Brooklyn’s side which separate Brooklyn and Manhattan:

Recently it was announced that BBP’s completion is behind schedule at least five years. Community activists are (again) pushing for “housing-free” Park. Presently, 1400 units of “luxury housing” are in New York State’s plans for the park. The Brooklyn Paper reports: “In the decades since community activists and local officials started planning Brooklyn Bridge Park, the proposal has changed from a sprawling public greenspace that would be part of the city’s regular park system to a state-built and-operated development whose open-space component would be maintained through fees charged to residents of luxury condos within the park’s footprint.”

More of the park has been completed since that was written in 2008 and part is now open. There was a controversy earlier this year over the really bad decision by the park management to install metal domes that turned out to burn children’s hands (and whatever other part of their bodies that touched it).

A letter from the Cobble Hill Association printed at Pardon Me for Asking Blog explains the issue further, illustrating the way parks are being used by the Bloomberg Administration and NY State to increase real estate values over quality of living:

Despite what some may think, these luxury high-rise towers are not needed to fund the park’s maintenance. There are many solutions to “pay” for park maintenance. When condos came into the park all year round recreation came out. Landscaping replaced the two pools, the indoor recreation center and ice rink that the community had worked so hard for decades to get. Landscaping sells condos while baseball fields do not.

More from the letter:

The city is still planning to build 5 more luxury condo and hotel towers inside the park’s borders (more…)

Parks in the News: Brooklyn Bridge Park, McCarren Park Pool, New York City Waterfalls(Okay, not a Park …)

A small segment completed at Brooklyn Bridge Park

A small segment completed at Brooklyn Bridge Park

*The “arborcidal” (tree-killing) New York City Waterfalls Public Art hours are being cut in half to preserve the Brooklyn trees (which are not responding well to its salt water mist). Not exactly scientific but … it’s something. (See previous post on this.)

*Last concert (Sonic Youth) at McCarren Park Pool in Greenpoint, Brooklyn performed on Saturday (8/30) before the space reverts back to an actual pool, ending its recent incarnation as a popular concert venue. Pending Landmarks Preservation Commission approval, pool reconstruction scheduled to be completed in 2011. (Long time that seems?) Sunday’s (8/31) New York Times has the story.

*Brooklyn Bridge Park: Recently it was announced that BBP’s completion is behind schedule at least five years. Community activists are (again) pushing for “housing-free” Park. Presently, 1400 units of “luxury housing” are in New York State’s plans for the park. The Brooklyn Paper reports: “In the decades since community activists and local officials started planning Brooklyn Bridge Park, the proposal has changed from a sprawling public greenspace that would be part of the city’s regular park system to a state-built and-operated development whose open-space component would be maintained through fees charged to residents of luxury condos within the park’s footprint.”

Event: The Selling of Brooklyn Bridge Park @ Judson Memorial Church Fri. May 30th

Brooklyn Bridge Park \'08Discussion: The Selling of Brooklyn Bridge Park

Friday, May 30th; 6:30 p.m.

Judson Memorial Church (Washington Sq. Park South, entrance on Thompson St.)

Background information:

Urban parks are becoming our newest endangered species. It has been a 20-year effort by the surrounding community to secure the Brooklyn Bridge Park in an 85-acre strip along 1.5 miles of Brooklyn’s East River waterfront.  Yet, it has become an example of the implementation of “parks that pay for themselves,” increased privatization and the further demise of public parks.

Requiring parks to pay their own way is an extension of the relentless cutbacks in public funding for NYC parks in recent decades, from 1.5% of the municipal budget in former years to only 0.4% currently.

Unlike traditional New York City parks, which are administered by the NYC Dept. of Parks & Recreation, the Brooklyn Bridge Park is being created by a subsidiary of the Empire State Development Corp., a state agency whose primary mission is promotion of economic activity.

Apart from $150 million committed by the city and state for construction, the park will have to generate enough income to pay for ongoing operation and upkeep. The main source, under the approved plan, will be payments from owners of apartments in high-rise housing with 1,200 luxury units that private developers will be allowed to build within the park – a massive intrusion into its narrow swath of green space.

Speakers:

Judi Francis, President, Brooklyn Bridge Park Defense Fund

Roy Sloane, civic activist

Free and open to the public. Wine, cheese and snacks will be served.

Presented by the Sierra Club.