Alexandra Bowie, the newly installed president of the Brooklyn Heights Association (and a Brooklyn Bugle contributor), talks LICH, libraries and other neighborhood issues in a lengthy 2,200+-word Q&A with Brooklyn Daily Eagle.
* Mission: BHA’s “most active committees are Traffic, Landmarks and Parks. The issues we work on, traffic, trees, tour buses, rats, parks and quality of life affect everyone who lives in our neighborhood, whether they rent or own.”
* Living in the Heights: “I love this neighborhood; it’s beautiful, green, leafy and quiet and virtually the entire city is accessible by public transportation. I love that people will pick up a kid’s dropped mitten or hat or shoe and hang it on a fence, and how often I bump into friends and neighbors. The one thing I don’t like is cars and trucks speeding through the neighborhood.
* Key BHA issues: LICH, the library, completion of Brooklyn Bridge Park, trees and traffic…
Eagle: BHA shocked a lot of people when it did not oppose the sale of the Heights branch library. How does BHA feel about the impact of hundreds (or thousands) of new residents in the neighborhood as a result of the new building? For example, the need for a new school or its impact on traffic?
Bowie: “It’s important to distinguish between the branch and the building. BPL is proposing to sell the building, but to retain the branch. We feel we have a useful role to play–in getting the City and the Library to do the right thing as it builds a new branch–by participating as members of the Community Advisory Committee. We think there are three right things: ensure that the money from the sale of the building goes to the BPL; that there is continuity of service from now until the opening of the replacement branch in a new building; and that the replacement branch is of adequate size.”
Bowie on LICH: “Our voice has been very public. Take a look at our letter to Governor Cuomo and Commissioner Shah, in which we asked for a thorough review of the health policy (including community) impact of closing the hospital. We sent this letter to Governor Cuomo, Health Commissioner Shah, the media and local elected officials as well as to our members. We have been advised by the LICH Concerned Physicians, New York State Nurse’s Association and Union 1199-United Health Care Workers that getting the attention of Governor Cuomo is critical.
“Accordingly, we have asked BHA members and others in the LICH community to send letters to Governor Cuomo and Dr. Shah. In terms of commissioning a study of the health needs of the community, the issues are complicated, and it is the role of the NYS Department of Health to understand and manage health care and to determine whether the closing of a hospital is appropriate.”
Bowie on Montague Street: “We would like to see a robust mix of businesses that serve residents’ needs.”