Bloomy slashes North Brooklyn park budget

This MTA bus lot on Commercial Street is slated to become a city park — and two local pols are battling the bureaucracy (and battling each other) to get it done.
The Brooklyn Paper / Tom Callan

The grass in McCarren Park isn’t the only green the city is going to cut in North Brooklyn this summer.

The Department of Parks and Recreation is planning to slash $57 million toward the construction of parkland in Williamsburg and Greenpoint over the next six years.

The majority of the eliminated funds would have gone towards the construction of Bushwick Inlet Park — a 28-acre waterfront greenspace that was promised to the open-space-starved neighborhoods as part of the contentious 2005 rezoning.

The Parks Department is planning to reserve a part of its remaining North Brooklyn construction budget — which will fall from $169.1 million to $112.1 million — to acquire parcels of the proposed park from Bayside Fuel, which currently owns the land.

But money for the construction of the greenspace — which has been delayed for years due to a plan to build a power plant on the site — has been written out of proposal.

The funding cuts would also reduce the construction budget for a planned waterfront park at 65 Commercial St. — a Metropolitan Transit Authority parking lot that was slated to be converted into parkland four years ago, but has also been delayed.

Cash to buy the parking lot from the MTA would be retained in the proposed budget, but money to build the project would be eliminated.

Despite the construction funding decrease, Parks spokesman Phil Abramson told The Brooklyn Paper that the agency remains committed to eventually constructing the parks.

“Nothing is being eliminated per se, but things are being pushed back because of the fiscal crisis,” said Abramson, who noted that other fully funded projects in North Brooklyn — like the restoration of the McCarren Park pool, the expansion of Newtown Barge Park, and the construction of a skateboard park in McCarren Park, a comfort station in Greenpoint Playground, a dog run in Sternberg Park, an open space on the WNYC transmitter site, and a field house and playing fields in part of Bushwick Inlet Park — will advance.

The cuts will not be finalized until the budget is adopted by the Council later this year.

Councilman David Yassky (D–Brooklyn Heights) condemned the proposed cuts: “The administration made a promise to our community, and the administration should be held accountable for that promise.”

But this portion of the long-delayed Bushwick Inlet Park is still moving forward.
Donna Walcavage and Associates

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