$70M asked without any pier review

March 30, 2007 at 3:38 pm Leave a comment

City officials are seeking $70 million in taxpayer money to sink into the Red Hook Piers – even though future control of the waterfront won’t be certain until at least 2008.

Officials at the city’s Economic Development Corp. requested the funds for “infrastructure needs” at Piers 7 through 12 during a March 5 City Council budget hearing – despite the fact that a public review of the project won’t be completed until next year at the earliest.

If approved for next fiscal year’s budget, the money would be added to $75 million already promised by the Port Authority to fix up the piers, now used as a cargo port.

The bistate agency currently owns the piers but recently inked a tentative deal to hand over control to the city.

“What was once a bad situation is now a lose-lose proposition because now we’re not only putting jobs at risk, we’re paying $70 million to have that privilege,” said Councilman David Yassky (D-Brooklyn Heights).

The plan to close down the docks at the end of the month was temporarily halted while a land-use proposal undergoes a city-mandated public review, which typically takes about eight months and must be approved by the Council.

City officials hope to replace a cargo port operated by American Stevedoring with a hotel, beer garden, beverage distributor, maritime uses and a second cruise terminal.

Opponents of the plan say it would slash hundreds of full-time dockworker and maritime jobs.

“This is part of a pattern of the city wasting money and ignoring the wishes of the community in their drive to bring inappropriate development to Brooklyn’s precious waterfront,” said American Stevedoring spokesman Matt Yates.

Economic Development Corp. officials have maintained that the project would create, not eliminate, more than 1,000 longshoremen, stevedoring and warehouse jobs.

“The city’s plan is to acquire the piers, retain every single stevedoring job that’s there today and add approximately 1,000 new jobs,” said agency spokesman Andrew Brent.

“No city money will go to the piers until after the plan is approved by the City Council and the city has acquired the piers.”

Tuesday, March 27th 2007

NY DAILY NEWS 

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