Pols seek a unified front over park

The Brooklyn Paper
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About a dozen local officials met behind closed doors last week to try to formulate a unified response to mounting criticism of the reconceived Brooklyn Bridge Park plan.

Meanwhile, the first public forum that would have examined the proposals, which include highly controversial waterfront housing, was canceled. The forum had been scheduled by community boards 2 and 6 for Feb. 10. At press time, no new date had been announced.

The meeting of officials took place Jan. 20 in Borough Hall, after the Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation (BBPDC) was slammed by a coalition of civic associations over the new plan.

The Borough Hall meeting followed the receipt by the officials of a letter signed by the presidents of 10 community organizations that criticized the apparently reduced “level of community involvement” in the new plan. Several of those present at the meeting were unwilling to comment on what was discussed, except to say that a statement would be forthcoming.

Peter Hatch, chief of staff to Park Slope Councilman Bill DeBlasio, said he would not comment on the pending statement until it was circulated to the attendees. He termed the meeting “quite productive” and said, “I think when the letter comes out it will be quite a story.”

Evan Thies, spokesman for David Yassky, the Brooklyn Heights councilman in whose district most of the proposed park would lie, said that mainly the officials pooled their ideas.

“They just discussed their views on the project,” Thies said. “Everybody wants the park to be built, and as soon as possible. I don’t think anybody expected to come out of that meeting with everybody having the same view on what’s going to happen.”

“It’s basically a meeting of the minds of all the local elected officials,” said Dan Wiley, spokesman for Rep. Nydia Velazquez.

Corri Freedman, chief of staff to Brooklyn Heights Assemblywoman Joan Millman, said Millman “thought it was a productive meeting.”

In the letter to BBPDC President Wendy Leventer, the 10 civic organization presidents asked that the park planners “immediately” arrange to hold two four-hour public information sessions, publicly disseminate complete information about the new park plans and produce financial information to the neighborhood organizations to help justify why the new plans included four residential towers.

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