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Summit Academy at a nadir

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It’s looking less likely that Boerum Hill’s hottest prostitution corner will become the site of a new charter school.

That development comes courtesy of Community Board 6, which last week rejected the Summit Academy’s bid for a special permit to open a school in a defunct warehouse on the corner of Butler and Nevins streets — the site of at least eight prostitution arrests in the past two months.

The board’s March 10 vote was 20-12.

“This is an absolutely horrible place to site a school,” said board member Debra Scotto, who voted against the special permit. “There are prostitutes [there]. It’s abysmal.”

After the vote, Summit Academy Executive Director Natasha Campbell refused to say if the Butler Street warehouse had been abandoned, adding only that the school remains in “an exploratory phase, looking for a permanent home.”

Summit Academy is currently housed inside PS 27 on Huntington Street in Red Hook, and serves 92 sixth graders.

Its population is expected to swell to 100 sixth graders and 100 seventh graders next year, forcing a new, 700-seat location that will eventually span multiple grades.

It’s not only prostitution that was on board members’ minds last week. The site has also been derided for its speeding truck traffic.

“This area [near the Gowanus Canal] is specifically set aside for manufacturing, and this would further erode that,” said board member Glenn Kelly.

But board member Betty Lester said that the site — which is across the street from the Wyckoff Gardens housing development — would be a good location for the school.

“We need that school there,” said Lester, mocking reports of treacherous traffic. “Traffic goes faster on Court Street.”

Court Street, of course, is home to several schools, including Brooklyn Heights Montessori, and the School for International Studies at Baltic Street.

And another board member, Mark Shames, said he backed the proposal because neww land-use ideas are needed now that the federal government has named the Gowanus a toxic Superfund site — a designation that will curtail residential development.

“Areas that would have been designated for residential and other uses are now locked away for 12 years at a minimum,” he said. “So we have to put schools somewhere, and the places that are left are areas that are inappropri­ate.”

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Reader Feedback

Joey from Clinton Hills says:
I never sees Prostitutes there, only policewomen trying to steal nice cars from horny guys.
March 17, 2010, 3:01 pm
Joe from Boerum says:
I laughed at this quote “This area [near the Gowanus Canal] is specifically set aside for manufacturing, and this would further erode that,” said board member Glenn Kelly."

As far as I see there is nothing going on in that area. Also a school would mean more police and hence less prostitution. Nevins has less traffic than Court, Bond, and 3rd avenue so I'm not sure where they're going with that argument.
March 17, 2010, 6:29 pm
Jo from Hills of Boerum says:
Every time I walk around there in the daylight there is some "fine lady" from the Gowanus Houses attempting to solicit. Even calling out to me! Anyone saying there isn't prostitution here hasn't paid attention.
March 18, 2010, 12:47 am

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