Park’s Budget Slashed
The Department of Parks and Recreation is planning to slash $57 million that’s already been allocated toward the construction of parkland in Williamsburg and Greenpoint over the next six years.
The majority of the eliminated funds would have gone towards the construction of Bushwick Inlet Park — a 28-acre waterfront greenspace that was promised to the open-space-starved neighborhoods as part of the contentious 2005 rezoning, but remains largely unclaimed by the city.
The Parks Department is planning to reserve a part of its remaining North Brooklyn construction budget — which will fall from $169.1 million to $112.1 million — to acquire parcels of the proposed park from Bayside Fuel, which currently owns the land.
But money for the actual construction of the greenspace — which has been delayed for years due to a plan by the energy company TransGas to build a power plant on the site — has been written out of proposal.
The funding cuts would also reduce the construction budget for a planned park at 65 Commercial St. — a Metropolitan Transit Authority parking lot that was slated to be converted into parkland four years ago, but has also been delayed.
Cash to purchase the parking lot from the MTA would be retained in the proposed budget, but money to actually build the project would be eliminated.
Despite the construction funding decrease, Parks spokesman Phil Abramson said that the agency remains committed to eventually constructing the parks.
“Nothing is being eliminated per se, but thing are being pushed back because of the fiscal crisis,” said Abramson, who noted that other fully funded projects in North Brooklyn — like the restoration of the McCarren Park pool, the expansion of Newtown Barge Park, and the construction of a skateboard park in McCarren Park, a comfort station in Greenpoint Playground, a dog run in Sternberg Park, an open space on the WNYC transmitter site, and a field house and playing fields in a small section of Bushwick Inlet Park — will advance unchanged.
“Once the economy improves, the funds can be reallocated,” Abramson added.
The proposed cuts will not be finalized until the budget is adopted by the City Council later this year.
Some open space advocates worried that elimination of construction funds are a concrete sign that the parks are still years away from being finished.
Councilman David Yassky (D–Brooklyn Heights) called the proposed budget cuts intolerable.
“Four years ago, the administration made a promise to our community. The administration should be held accountable for that promise and they should fulfill it,” said Yassky.
The Brooklyn Paper