There Go the Judges

New York Daily News: Feds Work to Give Parks Its Old Lot: As downtown Brooklyn leaders battle to push state judges' cars out of a city park, a federal court parking lot is being turned back into open space.

Federal court officials closed down most of their parking lot in Walt Whitman Park next to the old federal courthouse Saturday and are handing the property back to the Parks Department – along with some cash as a thank you.

The city is getting $3.9 million from federal officials for using Walt Whitman Park – money that will be used to fix up the long-neglected park off Cadman Plaza.

"We're thrilled. We can't wait to get it back," said activist Irene Janner, who is fighting to push 50 judges' cars out of nearby Columbus Park between Brooklyn Supreme Court and Borough Hall.

Federal officials contracted with the city 10 years ago to take over half of Walt Whitman Park for cars and equipment while the new federal courthouse was built. It opened in January.

This week workers will begin removing the fences, digging up asphalt and reseeding Walt Whitman Park.

"[State judges] should move out of Columbus Park in similar fashion," said Brooklyn Heights Association Executive Director Judy Stanton. "And the same thing should apply to [Columbus] Park: They should pay to restore it."

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