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Bushwick Inlet. photo: Mitch Waxman
Back in 2005, the city promised Williamsburg and Greenpoint 33-acres of waterfront parks; a 28-acres park at Bushwick Inlet and green spaces at both Barge Park and Commercial Street.
These green spaces were promised to the community as compensation for approving a very controversial rezoning of 200 blocks of industrial property. A mile-long esplanade along the East River, several new parks and hundreds of units of affordable housing were promised to Williamsburg and Greenpoint.
Buskwick Inlet Park Soccer Field.
photo: Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park
7 years later, the only thing resembling a park that has materialized is a single soccer field at Bushwick inlet. On the other hand, all one has to do is look around and you can see how many high-rise condos have filled the sky thanks to the zoning changes.
From The Brooklyn Paper: Councilman Steve Levin (D–Greenpoint) accused the Bloomberg administration of favoring projects that could make the city money, such as the McCarren Park Pool set to open this month, while putting waterfront parkland on the back burner.
“I’ve noticed that when something is a priority of this administration, it gets done,” said Levin. “It’s a question of priorities and these parks are not priorities.”
City officials pointed to other projects, like the renovation of the McCarren Park pool, as proof of their commitment – but these projects have no relationship to the zoning deal. They have even re-routed monies from the promised waterfront parks to other projects, including a $24.5 million department headquarters building near the Bushwick Inlet soccer field.
McCarren Park Pool. rendering: NYC Parks
From the Wall Street Journal: The city initially budgeted $14 million for costs associated with that park, but $13 million of that has since been redirected, city officials said.
Now, the City says they have no specific plans in place to keep their promises to the community. Representatives from the Bloomberg administration and NYC Parks Department blame budget-cuts for having stalled the park projects.
From DNAinfo: Bloomberg administration officials admitted Thursday they had no concrete plan to keep the promise. “We remain committed to the project,” mayoral adviser Carolee Fink told the City Council Thursday. But she would only say they were “working on” delivering the promised land.
Thing is, since there is no law to ensure that the promises of one administration carries over to the next, the assurances of the current administrations officials are meaningless.
From The Brooklyn Paper: [City Council Representative Steve] Levin doubts the city will follow through on its new promises.
“This is about credibility, doing what you say you’re going to do,” said Levin. “You have no concrete plan. When you want to do something, you have a plan.”
by Mai Armstrong for Working Harbor Committee