Downtown groups win $10 million to help connect neighborhood

View from above: The proposed Brooklyn Strand, for which Downtown business-boosters plan to build using some of the $10 million from Gov. Cuomo.
Downtown Brooklyn Partnership

Gov. Cuomo awarded Downtown business-boosters a $10-million dollar check on Tuesday after they won a state competition to revitalize downtown neighborhoods, money he says will help pay for a plan to better fuse the neighborhood to the surrounding area.

“This $10-million investment will connect cultural hubs to surrounding neighborhoods and further expand job and economic opportunities in the region, creating a stronger, more viable Brooklyn for generations to come,” he said.

The Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, Borough President Adams, and the Dumbo Business Improvement District plan to use a chunk of prize money to kick-start their “Brooklyn Strand” plan, which would construct a series of public parks and public spaces, making America’s Downtown even more walkable.

The Beep and the two business-boosting groups outlined in their application three areas from Borough Hall to Brooklyn Bridge Park where they’d like to improve bike and pedestrian pathways, as part of the long-term initiative created by the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership and first announced by Mayor DeBlasio in 2014, but in the planning stages for much longer.

“It’s incredibly gratifying that the State recognizes the Brooklyn Strand’s promise and potential to connect Downtown Brooklyn residents with jobs and to help create a public realm worthy of the significant public and private investments made in Downtown Brooklyn over the past decade,” said Regina Myer, head of the Partnership.

The first phase focuses on revamping the dilapidated Commodore Barry Park by removing the unwelcoming fences that surrounds it along Navy Street, installing more lighting in the ball fields, and laying down a track — the plan also envisions creating a new public plaza at the intersection of Tillary and Navy streets.

The second phase focuses on Park Avenue, where bigwigs want to build a new crosswalk at St. Edwards Street that would connect the Ingersoll and Whitman Houses with Commodore Barry Park, along with installing new seating, lighting, plants, and more outdoor wifi and charging stations.

The third phase includes enhancing the neighborhood’s bike network, removing fences that enclose green spaces throughout, and improving pathways for two-wheelers and pedestrians, according to Adams.

“This funding will help advance a vision that has been more than a decade in the making, and it will further community dialogue to identify the most meaningful infrastructure investments that help make our shared vision of the Brooklyn Strand into a reality,” said the Beep.

But Cuomo’s check is a drop in the bucket compared to the estimated total price tag for the WXY Architecture-designed Brooklyn Strand, which could cost a whopping $200 million, according to a rep for the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership.

And if they have any cash to spare, the commerce-boosting groups also want allocate some cash towards educational and entrepreneurship programs in the district, according to the proposal.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Strand don’t stand!: Downtown honchos want to make Tillary Street more welcoming through more open spaces and connectivity.
Downtown Brooklyn Partnership

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