After opposition grew last December, a committee was formed in February to find alternatives (including selling naming rights) to constructing a set of 20- to 30-story condos and a luxury hotel inside Brooklyn Bridge Park to generate funds to cover the fancy park-in-progress’s hefty $16 million annual maintenance budget, but alternative revenue sources seemed insufficient. Now the head of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy is lobbying for the condos.
According to the Brooklyn Paper, Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy Executive Director Nancy Webster told a crowd of about 100 at a hearing last week that the plan to build new condo buildings within the park at a few points between its south and north tips at Atlantic Avenue and Pearl Street—which was part of the original park project when an agreement between the city and state was struck for its expansion back in 2002—is the best way to pay for the $350 million waterfront green space. “Limited residential development actually privatizes the park less,” Webster said, countering various proposals to charge a residential tax and local businesses for membership in a business improvement district, for use of various services and amenities within the park, naming rights, concessions and more.
She also brought out her former counterpart at the Prospect Park Alliance, Tupper Thomas, who retired from her position with the Prospect Park group in January. She concurred: “[Housing is] a great mechanism to maintain the park in the future.”
Meanwhile, members of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Defense Fund maintain that committee estimates that projected not even half of the park’s annual maintenance budget could be raised through these alternative methods low-balled their figures to help justify the housing option. In other words, this dispute is far from over—just wait until all those wealthy Brooklyn Heights co-op residents realize that their harbor views would be completely ruined when the condos go up.