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Lock in the past? • Brooklyn Paper

Lock in the past?

The city is moving forward with a controversial plan to add roughly 600 buildings to the Park Slope historic district.

The existing 34-block zone, which covers a thin swath between Seventh Avenue and Prospect Park West, is already the largest historic district in the city with 1,975 apartment buildings and houses.

But the new proposal — a wider area that would go all the way from Prospect Park West to Fifth Avenue and from Flatbush Avenue to 15th Street — would add 564 more buildings, some of them historic, some not so much.

The boundary was drawn up last year, and presented to the Landmarks Preservation Commission, which has scheduled hearings and analysis for sometime this fall, the first step in a months- or years-long process.

It’s one that the local councilman thinks is worth doing — mostly because the plan would include city loans for landowners who want to renovate their historic buildings, a costly venture.

“The original district is 30-plus years old and there’s a lot it doesn’t cover,” Councilman Brad Lander (D–Park Slope) said on Wednesday. “This would be fair for owners — if you apply to do some work on your building, you have the option of getting city help, while keeping the look and feel of the neighborhood.”

The commission has no timetable, but the fact that Park Slope got the city’s attention is a huge milestone for the effort to lock in the aesthetic of one of the best-preserved districts of 1800s Greek Revivals in the borough.

After all, any new buildings in the proposed district would have to help “create a coherent streetscape [and] a distinct sense of place,” according the commission.

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