First, we have advocated long and hard for the year round recreational facilities that were taken out of the plan when housing came in -- a pool, ice rink and indoor field house. The Mayor has promised to fund an indoor bubble and seriously study a floating pool and ice rink. We will be on top of these developments but we are extremely pleased that our advocacy has gotten us this far.
The city has also promised to finish Pier 2 - the only location in the current park plan that contained ball courts long requested. Pier 2 had not been funded for completion but now is promised to be finished under this new deal.
Second, we have been staunch advocates of non-privatizing ways to fund park maintenance. When 1250 units of luxury condos in 6 buildings were proposed, all recreation came out of the plan, replaced by costly landscaping to help sell condos. And while the landscaping is still a costly burden of the park's current design, we have secured the commitment to look at alternate means to fund this park without more housing inside its borders. Senator Squadron and Assemblywoman Millman will also have veto power over future housing, if it again rears its head in 2011 or in 2013 (milestone dates for funding decisions). This is an incredible and positive step to restoring community confidence and getting the park we have worked so long to achieve. And while all the details are now being hammered out as to who will be appointed to look into funding alternatives (3 mayoral appointments to this committee, and 1 each from State Senator Squadron, Assemblyperson Millman and the Governor), we will trust this new process to find the best way to pay for the park without more housing inside its borders.
Third, the "project" is now on its way to being designated a "park". This is no small development and it is another one of our strong issues of advocacy over the past many years.
Special thanks to the true heros of this fight for the best park possible for our residents. The CHA worked together with all the other neighboring community associations under the Brooklyn Bridge Park Defense Fund led by Judi Francis. We thank the Defense Fund for keeping us together, on the points that united us all: No more housing, year round recreation and park designation. Thanks go first and foremost to the Park Defense Fund and the leadership of our neighbor associations in Carroll Gardens, Willowtown, DUMBO, Vinegar Hill, Park Slope and Ft. Greene.
But it was Senator Squadron who carried our message to the Governor and to the Mayor. He led the negotiations and brought in a strong supporter in Assemblywoman Millman. Councilmen Lander and Levin were also extremely critical to the final outcome. They are all, individually, and as a team, to be congratulated for their endurance, courage and their ultimate respect for the needs of their communities.
This is a great win for all Brooklynites and Senator Squadron brought it home. It would not have happened without him so please take a moment and send him your thanks: firstname.lastname@example.org.
P.S. We have gotten a lot of questions about the nature of the deal struck by the City and the State regarding Brooklyn Bridge Park, and I thought I'd point everyone to a very thorough and informative article written by Rich Calder of the New York Post for more details.