Bloomy: Housing in ‘park’ is still the plan

Brooklyn’s new front stoop? Granite recovered from other city construction sites form a one-story-high set of stairs right up against the East River, providing a stoop-like gathering point. Hopefully, stoop-drinking tickets won’t be issued.
The Brooklyn Paper / Bess Adler

Well, if you believe the Daily News, city officials were going to unveil their long-discussed “takeover” of the state’s controversial and delayed Brooklyn Bridge Park development project tonight — but Mayor Bloomberg himself nixed the notion that his administration would swoop in with new cash and a delay in the construction of luxury housing within the park’s footprint.

Bloomberg administration officials will be on hand at a meeting tonight at Long Island College Hospital — a meeting that the Daily News reported this morning was going to involve a city takeover of the park development project. But Mayor Bloomberg didn’t want to go that far this morning.

“The state’s run out of money, but we don’t want to stop development [of the park],” the mayor told The Brooklyn Paper at Monday morning’s a ground-breaking ceremony for McCarren Park Pool.

And, a mayoral aide clarified later, the mayor doesn’t want to stop development in the park, either.

“Right now, housing is still part of the park plan,” said mayoral spokesman Andrew Brent. “Unless another funding stream can be established, that’s the plan.”

The comments fly in the face of the Daily News story that the city would pony up $55 million immediately to finish building the troubled park — of which only a northern portion on Pier 1 near Old Fulton Street is slated for completion in early 2010. A second portion, atop Pier 6 at the foot of Atlantic Avenue, will be completed a few months later.

The vast majority of the remainder of the 85-acre park between those piers is off the table, pending additional funding. Also delayed are the luxury condo units and a hotel — the controversial commercial portion of the park that is supposed to fund the greenspace’s $15-million annual maintenance budget.

With a $120-million park construction gap, and the condo and hotel developments off the table for now, the Bloomberg administration could make some big news at the meeting tonight, which was set up by state Sen. Daniel Squadron, who has championed a tax hike plan to fund park maintenance that could dovetail with the mayor’s ambitions.

But not even Squadron was so optimistic for a big headline on BrooklynPaper.com on Tuesday morning.

“A city takeover has great potential — if there is money on the table, a meaningful discussion of alternatives to housing, parkland designation, and community input on governance and amenities,” Squadron said in a statement this morning. “As always, open dialogue is crucial.”

Brooklyn Bridge Park meeting at Long Island College Hospital [Hicks Street between Atlantic and Pacific streets in Cobble Hill, (212) 298-5565], Monday, Dec. 7 at 7 pm.

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