Open space activists, Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park (FBIP), working with city, state and federal representatives as well as with Community Board 1, took a step forward, this week, to hold the City to its open space promises in the 2005 rezoning.
The latest neighborhood advocacy effort calls on the City to ban any change in zoning at CitiStorage – the crucial remaining 7.5 acres of waterfront property needed to complete the 27-acre Bushwick Inlet Park. Developer Midtown Equities is reportedly in negotiations with property owner Norm Brodsky to purchase the property and with Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen to swap promised parkland on the East River portion of the CitiStorage site for a change in zoning and towers that would include affordable housing.
In a show of unity, every elected official who represents the neighborhood joined together to write a letter to Mayor de Blasio demanding that no change in zoning ever be allowed on the CitiStorage property. Bushwick Inlet Park was a central promise of the 2005 rezoning of 185 blocks of vacant, derelict Greenpoint-Williamsburg waterfront – the largest rezoning in the history of New York City.
Frustrated residents are already seeing a tsumani of development triggered by the rezoning that will usher in dozens of high-rise towers and tens of thousands of new residents along the East River with virtually no improvements made to the community’s infrastructure to accommodate this influx.
“A decade ago we were promised a park, but it still hasn’t been delivered,” said State Senator Daniel Squadron, “and I stand together with my city, state, and federal colleagues, and the community in calling for the City to fulfill their commitments, and in opposing rezoning at the site.”
“There is no equivocation, only consensus,” said Assemblyman Joe Lentol. “I urge the city to move forward with the purchase of the full 27 acre parcel for Bushwick Inlet Park. You owe it to North Brooklyn, and you owe it to my constituents’ quality of life.”
Other signees include Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and Councilmember Steve Levin, who added, “This letter sends a strong message of unity. The CitiStorage site was always intended to be parkland and we, as elected officials, will not support any effort to use it for any other purpose.”
A unanimous resolution passed by Community Board 1 echoes the letter’s key points – blocking any change in zoning at CitiStorage that would prevent the completion of Bushwick Inlet Park.
Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park says the City’s inability to follow through on the central promise of its 2005 rezoning casts doubt on its massive Mandatory Inclusionary Affordable Housing Initiative and vows to keep up the pressure to have the rezoning promises honored.
“We’ll keep attending community board hearings to let people know that after 10 long years we’re still waiting for our neighborhood’s central rezoning promise of Bushwick Inlet Park to be delivered,” said FBIP co-leader Steve Chesler.