Looking good on Atlantic

Daniel L. Squadron

June 19, 2009

By Gary Buiso

Feature article at YourNABE.com

Community Board 6 last week threw its support behind an alternative plan to finance the maintenance of Brooklyn Bridge Park, one that eliminates the construction of two high−rise apartment buildings amid the birds and the trees.

“I think the mood of this board is that we don’t want housing [in the park],” said CB 6 member Lou Sones.

Members expressed optimism that a recent proposal by State Senator Daniel Squadron might gain resonance.

Under Squadron’s proposal, maintenance of the $350 million park would come from taxes generated from any rezoned property within .4 miles of the planned 85−acre park along the Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO waterfront. The tax revenue would be diverted from the city’s general fund to pay for the park’s annual maintenance, estimated at about $16 million annually.

“The Squadron plan is visionary,” said CB 6 member Jeff Strabone. “I think it should be unanimous for us.”

Most members agreed. At its June 10 meeting, board voted 23−6 with three abstentions to support an alternative plan, like Squadron’s.

“Not one person will pay one penny more in tax,” noted Strabone, who said the plan could eliminate two 20−story residential buildings, seen by some as unwelcome, unsightly additions in a public park.

Under the existing park plan, 1,210 units of housing, a hotel and retail uses would fund the park’s hefty annual maintenance. While the park does not technically sit within the Board 6’s boundaries, members felt that its close enough — and large enough — to warrant a stand on important aspects of its creation, members said.