City takes control of Brooklyn Bridge Park

After months of negotiations, the state on Wednesday handed the reins of Brooklyn Bridge Park over to the city, while remaining to ride shotgun.

The deal came with two major caveats – an agreement that the Bloomberg Administration contributes $55 million to finish the $350 million park in the next fiscal year, and the city will explore other options for funding the parks mandate to be self-sustaining.

In other words, plans to construct housing on Pier 6 and John Street to pay for maintenance of the park are on hold while a new board explores potential alternative revenue sources.

The new 17-member board, the Brooklyn Bridge Park Operating Entity (BBPOE), will create a Community Advisory Committee, as well as a Subcommittee on Alternatives to Housing to explore these potential alternative revenue sources.

While the Bloomberg Administration will have the majority of appointees, the board will also include representatives from the governor, the borough president and State Sen. Dan Squadron and Assembly member Joan Millman, the two state lawmakers whose district abuts the 85-acre waterfront park.

The final buildout of the park is contingent on either the approval of these housing developments to pay for the maintenance or mutually-agreed-upon alternatives with Squadron and Millman having veto power.

The agreement also includes a city commitment to pursue concessions for a year-round recreational bubble on Pier 5 and an ice-skating rink.

Additionally, the city will look at bringing in a permanent floating pool contingent on finding funding as well as tennis courts and community space in a planned maintenance and operations building.

Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation President Regina Myer will continue to be charged with heading the construction of the park.

“This deal offers a path to complete the park, increase amenities and a serious consideration to alternatives to housing. It’s win-win-win for the community’s priorities,” said Squadron, who has been spearheading ways for alternate funding to sustain the park.

The announcement was greeted optimistically by local activists involved in making the park a reality.

“Daniel Squadron has done a fabulous job of representing the community to secure a real park,” said Judi Francis, president of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Defense Fund.

“We are very pleased that alternatives to housing will be explored and applied to funding this park. We are also pleased the recreational amenities in which we have advocated for six long years and 20 years before that will now have a possibility of being included in this park.”

Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy Executive Director Nancy Webster also hailed the move.

“We look forward to working with the new Brooklyn Bridge Park Operating Entity (BBPOE), headed by current Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation President Regina Myer, as Piers 1 and 6 open later this Spring,” she said.