Williamsburg’s largest waterfront park has stalled — perhaps permanently — because the city doesn’t have the cash to buy the land.
City officials dropped a bombshell on community leaders last Thursday, revealing that they had no money and no timetable to buy several private properties off Kent Avenue and N. 11th Street surrounding the 28-acre Bushwick Inlet site.
Infuriated community leaders accused Mayor Bloomberg of revoking the city’s long-standing agreement to build parks at the edge of the East River in exchange for rezoning most of the waterfront for luxury high-rises in 2005.
“The mayor is travelling around the city, trumpeting his proposals for open space, parks and playgrounds as his legacy — and here we have a situation where the city wants to abandon its ironclad commitment that they made with the neighborhood’s residents,” said Assemblyman Joe Lentol (D–Greenpoint).
The delay spoiled a series of promising developments for the waterfront park. The city has already purchased two properties at Bushwick Inlet and has the option to buy a third.
And last month, the city moved closer to acquiring the Bayside Fuel property at Kent between N. 12th and N. 14th streets after more than a decade of legal battles, sources said.
But about two-thirds of Bushwick Inlet Park remains privately owned — and negotiations for one site have stalled abruptly.
Citistorage’s Norm Brodsky hoped to move his N. 10th Street warehouse and sell the site to the city — but city officials told him there was no money to make the purchase.
Now Brodsky’s allies say he’s trapped because the property has been rezoned for parkland and he cannot unload the parcel to a private developer.
“The property is worthless as housing,” said one source close to Brodsky, who was unavailable for comment.
A Bloomberg spokesman said discussions over the purchase of the Citistorage site are ongoing.
“The city’s current budget issues are well known, and, regardless of the economic climate, we will only enter agreements that are fair for taxpayers,” said Andrew Brent, a Bloomberg spokesman.
Residents remain fed up with the site’s delays.
“This is a huge rezoning that’s part of the legacy of this administration and it fails without all the pieces in place,” said Community Board 1 member Ward Dennis. “All along the city is saying, ‘We’re making progress,’ but it sounds like the city doesn’t have a dollar to pay for it.”
©2011 Community News Group
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