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First Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund grants go to North Brooklyn Boat Club, Newtown Creek Alliance, Greenpoint Reformed Church

Greenbacks to green oil-soaked Greenpoint

Oil take it: Pastor Ann Kansfield wants Greenpoint Reformed Church to get a rooftop farm.
The Brooklyn Paper
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They struck black gold.

Eighteen projects have been chosen to soak up the first $395,135 of the $19.5 million in oil money set aside to gussy up Greenpoint as part of a court settlement for the neighborhood that suffered through an oil spill that was three times the size of the Exxon Valdez disaster. The boat club that plies the waters of the fetid Newtown Creek won big, getting grants to cover three of its proposals, and for that the crew is thankful.

“We are certainly grateful,” said Dewey Thompson, founder and harbor master of the North Brooklyn Boat Club. “Otherwise, we would have had to apply for grants that would be looking at projects all over the East Coast or all over the city.”

The mariners scored a total of $73,729 to buy two big canoes and run a boating education program, to build a laboratory and classroom out of one or more shipping containers, and to launch a campaign to keep cigarette butts out of the filthy creek, which is slated for a federal Superfund clean-up, and the East River. The anti-litter initiative was an idea of a club member who is a regular on the water.

“He was sickened by how much of the trash in the creek was cigarette butts,” said Thompson, suggesting that the phenomenon has to do with the city’s war on indoor smoking. “The huge amount of people going outside to smoke has created a huge amount of trash in our waterways.”

The projects and the other awardees beat out more than 80 other pitches for the first round of grants.

Other winning ideas included a green dock that the Newtown Creek Alliance wants to build near N. Henry Street, which garnered $24,980, a bird-watching oasisis in McGolrick Park, for $100 less, and a feasibility study for a rooftop garden atop Greenpoint Reformed Church, for $5,000.

One of the church’s pastors cannot wait to see if the lord’s ceiling can support some raised beds.

“I’m very excited for what this means for the future of the Greenpoint community,” said Rev. Ann Kansfield.

The fund, paid by British Petroleum, Chevron, and Exxon Mobil for the 30 million gallons of oil that seeped into neighborhood soil over the course of decades, still has $19 million left to dispense for bigger projects. The state attorney general holds the purse strings but has delegated grant-making to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the North Brooklyn Development Corporation, a pro-business group. The winners of the bigger awards are set to be announced later this year and another set of small grants are slated for early 2015.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at dfurfaro@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2511. Follow her at twitter.com/DanielleFurfaro.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

too true from Greenpoint says:
I do not understand why this money is not going towards improving the waterway which continues to be contaminated.
March 7, 2014, 9:56 am
Matt from Greenpoint says:
Let me know when the fishes are edible.

Am I to assume the proposal for a community based free body mod/craft beer center in the church basement was accepted?
March 7, 2014, 5:31 pm
Ian from Williamsburg says:
How about needed infrastructure rather than a hodgepodge of pet projects? There's pretty obvious needs for parks, streetscaping,etc. Boating Newton Creek is going to serve a pretty small subset of people and frankly sounds disgusting unless the waterway is cleaned.
March 8, 2014, 7:26 am
Ian from Williamsburg says:
How about needed infrastructure rather than a hodgepodge of pet projects? There's pretty obvious needs for parks, streetscaping,etc. Boating Newton Creek is going to serve a pretty small subset of people and frankly sounds disgusting unless the waterway is cleaned.
March 8, 2014, 7:26 am
Vinny Polack from Greenpoint says:
Newtown Creek is a cesspool because there is no current in the creek to wash the sludge out, so it accumulates. Nothing short of that will clean out the creek. At that cost, it would be cheaper to just concrete over it. That is never going to happen because Waste Management uses the creek for its trash barges. The money on these pet projects would be better spent modernizing the bridges over the creek, especially the narrow one on Grand Ave. These pet projects are not going to change anything.
March 9, 2014, 11:50 pm

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