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Push to finish Bush: Locals demand city fund long-promised amenities in Terminal park

Finish it: Civic leaders on Community Board 7 are demanding the city finish work on some long-awaited amenities inside Bush Terminal Piers Park, which opened to locals back in 2014.
Brooklyn Paper
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The city must fork over the $20 million needed to finish a Sunset Park meadow officials opened years ago without all of its promised amenities, locals demanded.

“We have such a lack of green space in this community, it makes sense for us to really get on the ball and put pressure on the administration and the Economic Development Corporation,” said Cesar Zuniga, chairman of the local Community Board 7.

The city opened Bush Terminal Piers Park in an obscure, waterfront location behind a Second Avenue pool factory in 2014, after a more than decade-long push from community members.

But the park debuted without several promised features, including a playground, an environmental-education center, a rain garden designed to soak up storm water and prevent flooding, and even basic lighting, according to residents, who claimed the city axed the amenities without any notice.

At the time, reps for the city’s Economic Development Corporation — the agency that owns the parkland between 43rd and 51st streets, which is maintained by the Department of Parks and Recreation — told CB7 members that roughly $2–3 million earmarked for construction of those facilities instead went towards cleaning up the former toxic industrial site, according to the panel’s district manager Jeremy Laufer. But the agency never provided specific answers to questions about the incomplete amenities, Laufer claimed.

An Economic Development Corporation spokesman confirmed that unforeseen issues with toxic soil forced the agency to drain its budget to fund the remediation work, so that the park’s grounds would not contaminate locals when it opened.

“Over the course of the park’s development, unforeseen environmental issues resulted in unexpected project costs,” said Christian Ficara. “The project scope was revised to ensure that the new park would be safe for public recreation.”

Last year, however, the agency sought some $26 million needed to complete green space — but city bean counters only coughed up $6 million for more lighting around the park, according to Laufer, who said the sum surprised many advocates who mistakenly assumed officials would finally fund the long-awaited amenities they already promised the community.

“Last year was the first year we were aware they were asking for this money, and I guess we were a little surprised we didn’t get it,” he said.

And now the civic leaders are going on the offense to get the job done, devoting the March meeting of CB7’s Parks Committee to planning their blitz, which will likely include sending members to Council hearings, meetings with local pols, and organizing a letter-writing campaign after similar tactics helped the panel squash a 2006 plan to cut city funding to Sunset Park High School, according to Laufer.

Getting Bush Terminal Piers Park’s playground built is of utmost importance, according to Zuniga, who said the recently renovated play space within Sunset Park is chronically overcrowded with kids during the summer months.

“It’s a beautiful playground, and I’m really grateful for some of the restoration that’s in place now, but it just seems really unfair,” he said Zuniga. “This neighborhood, it’s bursting at the seems at all levels.”

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Updated 2:24 pm, February 12, 2019
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Reasonable discourse

Mathematician from Brooklyn says:
How did the $2-3 million cost become $20 million in just a few years?
Feb. 12, 7:03 am
Local says:
The amenities are, at best, sub-par !
Feb. 12, 10:11 am
Hey from NYC says:
Since they took all this industrial land away from job producing purposes, why not throw even more tax payers dollars at it. After all, who needs jobs anyway. This Park was a slap in the face of Blue Collar workers and The Unemployed everywhere.
Feb. 12, 11:11 am
Kathryn Gilchrist from Sunset park says:
There are several inexpensive things they could do. Improved signage directing people to the park at the exit next to Costco and at various Industry City locations. They could extend existing bus lines so the disabled could reach the park. They could improve the appearance of the entrances to make them more welcoming. The park itself was a concession for EDC getting a lease to the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal, but all the politicians who grandstanded at the opening have been nowhere to be found, Carlos Menchaca particularly. Grateful for Mr Laufer and Mr Zuniga keeping up the fight for what EDC promised. The park is one of the city’s great hidden gems.
Feb. 12, 2:20 pm
concerned from Greenwood says:
Industry City is creating a lot of jobs in the neighborhood. Not to mention the new stores at the Liberty View Plaza. Not sure how a public park in the neighborhood is a "slap in the face to blue collar workers everywhere"? It's a public park!
Feb. 12, 2:24 pm
Ro from Brooklyn says:
There's a park near Industry City?
Feb. 13, 1:07 am
Angel from Sunset Park says:
This doesn't even account for one of the dilapidated piers that was supposed to eventually be turned into space for concessions and more amenities. Agree with Kathryn above - local Councilmember Menchaca has been absent for sunset park - grandstanding on national and city-wide issues, but not focusing on quality of life issues here in his district! Silent on hotels becoming shelters, illegal home conversions, did nothing to move landmarking forward for 6 years, not vocal in support of industry city which is great for the area, etc etc
Feb. 13, 11:45 am
James from Red hook says:
For those who are new to New York . Local politicians only speak out when they get paid off . An improved park attracts the wrong kind of people . People with jobs and money . manchaca protested against industry city as it is bringing in too many people with good paying jobs . His financial supporters are leftist activist groups who despise people who work proving capitalism works
Feb. 16, 9:32 pm

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