The Cobble Hill Association has launched a letter-writing campaign in support of Senator Daniel Squadron’s plan for Brooklyn Bridge Park.
CHA: Senator Squadron has devised a visionary yet viable plan for Brooklyn Bridge Park. The plan calls for more amenities, better governance, and, most importantly, a revenue-generating model that would allow the proposed high-rise apartments to be permanently eliminated from the park… Every public meeting that we have held for the past several years has reiterated that removing the proposed new apartments from the park is a very high priority for our community. Now, with a new proposal on the table and the old plan in greatest doubt, is the time for all of us to act.
Below is the text of our letter to Mayor Bloomberg. We ask that you copy it, add your name and address to it, print it, and mail it. You may modify it as you see fit.
April 12, 2009
The Honorable Michael Bloomberg
New York, New York 10007
Re: Senator Daniel Squadron’s proposal for Brooklyn Bridge Park
Dear Mayor Bloomberg,
The Cobble Hill Association has been one of the strongest advocates for a Brooklyn Bridge Park for more than two decades. Continuing our historic role as park advocates, we are writing to encourage you to support Senator Daniel Squadron’s plan for the Park’s amenities, governance, and revenue. The Squadron plan is a viable way forward that we believe will lead to a world-class park on the site and will heal the divisions sown in our community when new housing was added to the Park as a revenue-generating element.
We wholeheartedly endorse the Squadron plan in nearly all its particulars. In the amenities portion of the plan, we support the Senator’s call for:
• active, affordable, year-round athletic recreation, housed within a bubble if necessary;
• a floating pool dedicated to the Park;
• a seasonal ice-skating rink;
• a ferry landing at Pier 6 that will link Atlantic Avenue to Governors Island; and
• a facility for community recreation and the arts.
We are intrigued by Senator Squadron’s call for a public school at 360 Furman Street, or elsewhere in the Park, and we urge the City and State to consider it seriously. A school in the Park would have the added benefits of insuring year-round use of the Park and would obviate the need for a school at 10 Dock Street in Dumbo, a project that threatens to obscure the historic views of Brooklyn’s great bridges.
In the governance portion of the plan, we agree with Senator Squadron on all of the following points:
• designating Brooklyn Bridge Park as parkland, as defined by law and regulation;
• creating a Harbor Park Task Force to coordinate governance of all the parks in the harbor; and
• creating a Marine Infrastructure Task Force to coordinate efforts to attract federal and state revenues for the maintenance of the harbor parks’ marine infrastructure.
We are especially excited by Senator Squadron’s proposal for a new revenue model, the Park Increment Recapture (PIRC). The PIRC will not raise anyone’s property taxes, nor will it take any revenue from the City’s financial plan since it is based only on future rezonings. It is a simple and elegant solution to a problem that has vexed Park supporters for half a decade: how to maintain the Park without the proposed new housing. The argument all along has been that housing is necessary to pay for the park’s operations budget. No one wants the housing per se. The housing plan has only sown division and distrust since it was first foisted on the neighborhood. Nor does housing belong in a park as a matter of principle. What an awful precedent the City would be setting by building apartments inside a park. Senator Squadron’s PIRC proposal may be the way to prevent that dreadful precedent from ever happening. It deserves your support.
We disagree with the Squadron plan on only one substantive point: we believe that the PIRC’s cap ought to be raised so that the proposed hotel at Pier 1 can also be removed from the Park.
Our community in Cobble Hill has been known for its keen criticism, these past five years, of nearly all aspects of the Park: its revenue model, its design, its governance, and so on. We have made these criticisms because we care deeply about the Park. We believe that the Squadron plan is the best way forward. It eliminates the need for new housing inside the park by replacing the revenue from the development parcels with revenue from future rezonings that, by definition, are no part of the City’s financial plan. If the Park increases property values, as it undoubtedly will, we think it’s a fine idea for the Park itself to benefit from that outcome.
We urge you to adopt the Squadron plan so that the Park can be built housing-free and without the re-direction of a single budgeted dollar from the City’s coffers.