Thursday, November 5, 2009

Cobble Hill Association November Newsletter

Read below for CHA recaps on the Halloween Parade, Book Swap, and upcoming Bike Ride, Fall General meeting, and more.

Fall General Meeting to Feature Panel Discussion, "Surviving the Economic Downturn in Cobble Hill"

With New York City's unemployment rate at a reported 8.9% and with under-employment estimated at 17%, many Cobble Hill residents have been affected by the economic downturn , especially with so many working in the fields of finance, media, and law that have been hard-hit. The Cobble Hill Association's Fall General meeting will feature a panel discussion on coping strategies for this difficult economic environment. It will be held on Monday, November 9, at 7:30 pm at Long Island College Hospital, 339 Hicks Street (at Atlantic Ave) at the Avram Conference Room A.Featured will be an expert on local real estate, William S. Ross, Director of Development Marketing, Halstead Property; co-owners of two successful neighborhood businesses, Henry Zook of BookCourt at 161-163 Court Street and Michelle Mannix of Ted & Honey cafe at 264 Clinton Street at Verandah Place; and Lauren Young, Personal Finance Editor, of BusinessWeek.

For detailed background about the Panelists, please read further here.

- $22 Million NY State Grant Will Assist Proposed Merger of Long Island College Hospital and SUNY-Downstate Medical Center

Governor David Patterson authorized a $22 million grant to Long Island College Hospital, a move that was interpreted as a show of support for LICH's proposed merger with SUNY- Downstate Medical Center, according to Dominick Stanzione, acting LICH President. Mr. Stanzione reported that negotiations between LICH and SUNY-Downstate continue. There have been ongoing discussions between various state and federal agencies to come up with a business plan that would reduce LICH’Äôs current malpractice premiums and increase its reimbursement rates.Murray Adams, former CHA president and co-founder of the Ad Hoc Committee for LICH, said Mr. Stanzione told their committee that "the financial picture at LICH has improved, but LICH is still a long way from break-even". LICH's finances may also be negatively impacted by new cuts in reimbursement rates effective December 1 and possible additional cuts arising from New York State’Äôs anticipated deficit. However, on a positive note, support by the area's elected officials allowed LICH to keep open their school-based clinics this fall.

- Cobble Hill Bike Ride to Meet Sunday, November 8 in Cobble Hill Park

The Cobble Hill Association and Brooklyn Greenway Initiative are hosting a 10-mile casual bike ride on Sunday, November 8 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. It will begin at Cobble Hill Park at Verandah Place and travel through Brooklyn Heights, Dumbo, the Columbia Waterfront District, Red Hook, and Carroll Gardens then loop back to Cobble Hill. There will be several scenic rest stops as the group rides along the mostly calm streets with some light vehicular traffic. Several bike marshals and a mechanic will accompany the group in case of urgent bike repairs Riders should bring helmets and observe all the proper rules of the road.There is no cost but space is limited to 50 riders maximum. Preference will be given to those who register ahead of time, as well as Cobble Hill Association members. Riders must RSVP to:

- Halloween Parade Draws 4000 to Cobble Hill Park

Halloween has become as festive as Mardi Gras with a crowd estimated at 4000 participating in the Cobble Hill Association’Äôs parade and enjoying the scary decorations in Cobble Hill Park. Every block had people sitting on their stoops distributing candy to children who came from the neighborhood and beyond. One generous Clinton Street homeowner had treats for both young and old with candy for the kids and a mini keg of Heineken for adults.
Kudos to Melissa Glass, the Halloween Queen, for organizing the event, decorating the park, hiring the steel drum band, and putting everything back to normal before midnight. Additional thanks to David Black, Allen Scheuch who made the fabulous totem poles, helped with set-up, and spearheaded the cleanup, Peter La Bonte, Nicole from Congress Street, Liz Velikonja and her fourth- and fifth-grade sons Karl and Nicky, Captain Corey and the policemen from the 76th precinct for closing the parade route to traffic, Roy Sloane, and Jerry Armer.

- CHA Lobbying Efforts Result in Important Expansion of BQE Rehabilitation Project

Peter King, NYS DOT Project Manager, announced his agency's intention to expand the area of the BQE Rehabilitation project south to Hamilton Avenue-- subject to the concurrence of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). His announcement made at the October 21st meeting of the BQE Rehabilitation Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) appeared to be in response to lobbying by the CHA and community organizations. This means that the BQE Rehabilitation will now include all Atlantic Avenue entrances and exits and the BQE "ditch" rather than ending just before. Expansion of the project area also means that the primary study area will be expanded south at least as far as Hamilton Avenue and will include all of the neighborhoods west of the Gowanus Canal.

The BQE Triple Cantilever Roadway Reconstruction Project has the potential to be an infrastructure reconstruction project of truly unprecedented scale and extent. Our entire area could be profoundly impacted for the years required to complete the rehabilitation. Peter King and his team are considering an ambitious range of options to mitigate the potential impact including tolling strategies, a temporary outboard highway over the water and even more permanent solutions such as tunneling underneath downtown Brooklyn. You can learn more about the project and the planning effort at:

- Community Roundtable Meeting with State Senator Daniel Squadron Scheduled for November 23

The Cobble Hill Association is pleased to announce that the first in a series of "Community Roundtable" meetings will feature State Senator Daniel Squadron on Monday Nov. 23rd at 7:30 PM -- location to be announced. The "Community Roundtable" meetings will provide an opportunity for you to meet directly with your elected officials to discuss any topic and to communicate your concerns with them. Please save the date!

- First Cobble Hill Book Swap Was a Hit!

Despite a postponement and shortened hours, the first Cobble Hill Association Book Swap was a very successful event. Over 1000 books changed hands with the remainders donated to patients at Long Island College Hospital.
LICH librarian George reoirts that the book cart is getting great responses from patients and that the kid's books disappear the moment the clinic staff puts them out. In addition to the book swap, police from the 76th precinct registered bicycles and cell phones and LICH nurses took blood pressure readings and provided information about asthma. Organizers Judi Francis and Margaret Ablon thank all who participated and are planning another swap for this spring.

- Joanne Nicholas, editor

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