Where’s my Park?
Four years after Williamsburg and Greenpoint were rezoned to allow luxury waterfront condo towers, residents charged none of the parks they were promised have opened.
The parks, some with playgrounds and ballfields, and a dog run, were part of a 2005 agreement that was key to getting the rezoning through the City Council.
“The administration has not delivered on its promise,” said Councilman David Yassky (D-Williamsburg), adding, “I don’t think [the rezoning] would have been approved” without the open space agreement.
Five different park projects have been plagued by delays.
The MTA has refused to move from a Commercial St. parking lot slated to become a park, saying alternate locations the city offered weren’t satisfactory.
Bushwick Inlet Park and Barge Park have been tied up in red tape since 2005 because of difficulties acquiring property and moving a city sludge tank, city officials conceded.
The city recently released design plans for Transmitter Park, but won’t break ground until next year.
“This community was sold a bill of goods,” said Evan Thies, a member of Community Board 1 and candidate for City Council. “We haven’t gotten one single blade of new grass in four years.”
Parks Department officials said a park at the end of Manhattan Ave. will finally open Thursday – nearly two years after construction was finished. Officials said the park couldn’t open because a railing wasn’t up to safety standards.
Parks Department spokesman Phil Abramson said the city has already spent $55 million on green space in the neighborhood, and will spend $152 million more to finish the job. “Despite delays, including unanticipated environmental remediation at some sites and overall cost escalation, the city is committed to expanding open space,” Abramson said.
He said the city would break ground on Bushwick Inlet Park next month, with a portion of it opening next spring. Transmitter Park is slated to open in summer 2011.
A spokesman for Mayor Bloomberg said the city was continuing to negotiate with the MTA over the Commercial St. site.
This Saturday, in a twist on the city’s annual It’s My Park Day, frustrated residents will host Where’s My Park? Day, marching from Bushwick Inlet Park to Commercial St., where they’ll have a barbecue on the pavement across from the MTA site.