As progress on Brooklyn Bridge Park continues to ease forward—however controversial—other areas of Brooklyn are apparently not as fortunate. City officials admit that two stalled North Brooklyn parks will likely see little to no progress before Mayor Bloomberg’s term runs out in November 2012, because funding was allocated to other projects.
A long-promised waterfront recreation area in Williamsburg’s Greenpoint and a planned open space at Bushwick Inlet Park are both at risk of simply never materializing. The Brooklyn Paper reports that two top Bloomberg aides deflected a barrage of questions from Brooklyn council members over the projects, refusing to estimate when or if they might be completed, citing budget constraints. Parks Assistant Commissioner Joshua Laird: “We don’t have a bottomless pit of money. It’s just not possible to acquire property. The city has an obligation to its taxpayers.”
Open space advocates counter that the city also has an obligation to North Brooklyn after approving a controversial rezoning of 200 industrial blocks in Williamsburg and Greenpoint seven years ago in exchange for a commitment to build hundreds of affordable housing units, a mile-long esplanade abutting the East River and several new parks. Instead, a number of luxury residential towers have risen along the river’s edge.
For Bushwick Inlet Park, the city has only acquired half of the required lots to begins its buildout, while city budget planners reallocated $13 million of the $14 million intended for that park’s development for other projects. Bloomberg aides claim the city could raise funds by selling air rights to developers around adjacent commercial properties to fund the park.