Greenpoint Gazette

Talk of Big Growth for La Marqueta Leads CB 1 Meeting

BY Kylie Jane Wakefield

The agenda at the February 8th Community Board 1 meeting was dominated by discussions about the revitalization of the Moore Street Market.

The market, which opened in 1941, faced closure in 2008, but was saved through the efforts of community advocates. Now, an expansion of the site, called The Humboldt Street Plaza Project, will bring even more life to the building. This new pedestrian plaza, which is part of the Department of Transportation plaza program, will be built along Humboldt Street in front of the market.

A presentation by Petra Mager from Abel Bainnson Butz, LLP revealed that in addition to creating new space for vendors, it will also be used for events and concerts. There will be informal seating areas where people can relax and eat their meals. According Mager, the project is costing $1.2 million and will be finished by the end of 2012.

Joan Bartolomeo of the Brooklyn Economic Development Corporation, a partner in the project, stressed that there won’t be any efforts to relocate vendors. Instead, she wants to add more of them. “It’s really important to bring more fresh produce to the market,” she said.

A grant was submitted to the U.S. Department of Agriculture that would bring in more vendors and programming to the market, according to Bartolomeo. She said there are also talks of having upstate farmers come to the city to sell their food. Efforts are being made to secure six to eight more vendors in the market.

CB 1 District Manager Gerry Esposito, who led the charge to help the market stay afloat back in 2008, said it wasn’t an easy success. “We were grasping at straws to get attention and resources in our community into this market,” he said.

Another topic of discussion was the recently defeated homeless shelter proposed for McGuinness Boulevard. According to Councilman Steve Levin, Help USA withdrew their proposal as a result of budgetary reasons. Levin added that it was also the community’s activism against the shelter that led to its failure.

Chairman of the Board, Christopher H. Olechowski, said that “a project of this magnitude should have been handled in a way that could have been resolved if Help USA had come forward to the community. They could have bypassed us, and they did.” He said that the neighborhood shouldn’t be glad about the fact that there are still homeless people around. There just needs to be a group, he said, that understands the needs and problems of the community.

Concerns about Monitor Street residents receiving letters from the city saying their stoops and fences were encroaching on city property were highlighted during the meeting. In the future, the city promised to notify elected local officials before contacting residents about such issues.

During the public part of the meeting, it was announced that the North Brooklyn Art Coalition is looking for community residents, characters, and people from long-established businesses to be interviewed for No Bills, a project that is in the works until March.

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