Green dreams in Greenpoint — Locals choose projects to get $7M in state cash

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Greenpoint has spoken — and it wants new wetlands, more trees and a new boathouse along the Newtown Creek.

The City Parks Foundation released the results of a poll conducted last month that asked residents to choose an environmental project to receive up to $7 million from a pool of money awarded in a pollution settlement with the state.

The top three vote getters from the 699 respondents include acquiring the Dutch Kills Basin in Queens, rehabilitating wetlands along the banks of the creek, and the Greenpoint Boathouse and Environmental Education Center — a project helped by extensive lobbying from Greenpoint community leaders.

Other projects in the top 10 included additional renovations at McCarren Park Pool, tree planting and stormwater management along West Street, a velodrome (which is a fancy name for bicycling track), and a study for renovating the Pulaski Bridge.

Voters signaled their preference for the top five projects of 22 finalists during the two-day vote last month, with five points for each first-place response.

City Parks Foundation President David Rivel stressed that the vote tally was “not a binding referendum” and that the state Department of Environmental Conservation is not required to fund projects that received the most support. A final decision is expected in weeks.

“The state wants to fund projects that have broad-based support, but there are a host of factors to consider, including the distance the project is from the [Newtown Creek] Wastewater Treatment Plant and the likely cost or feasibility of the project,” said Rivel.

The results clearly pleased community leaders who proposed projects with the highest vote totals.

“Woo-hoo, we won!” said Community Board 1 member Dewey Thompson, whose Manhattan Avenue boathouse project came in third place. “We’re eager to get to the next step to make this happen. We did as well as we thought.”

But others who “lost” claimed that the entire process was “deeply flawed.”

“I still don’t know the details of many of these projects,” said Kate Zidar, whose Kingsland Avenue wetland park proposal finished 16th out of 22 projects.

One voter who favored both the boathouse and the biosculpture worried that the funds would be allocated towards long-stalled parks projects that were already promised to the neighborhood after the waterfront’s 2005 rezoning.

“I don’t want to see this pool of money going for a project that will already supposed to be funded by the city,” said Laura Hofmann.

Updated 5:22 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Jenni from Greenpoint says:
I still don't understand how a boathouse serves this community at large. If it was a multipurpose community space, that'd be ideal.
The most upsetting part for me as a parent of 2 is that money will go to a boathouse which we don't need; but an established park like American Park (2blocks) away is unusable because debris is falling from the bldg next door?!? Can't we address failed issues before creating another venue for Steve Hindy to sell beer at!??
Jan. 12, 2011, 1:49 pm

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