December 15, 2015
BOROUGH PRESIDENT RECOGNIZES ADDITIONAL REDC AWARDS TO DOZENS OF BROOKLYN PROJECTS, CALLS ON STATE TO INCREASE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT INVESTMENT IN BOROUGH
BROOKLYN, NY, December 16, 2015: Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams celebrated more than $1.8 million in State funding through the New York City Regional Economic Development Council (REDC), which his office and Brooklyn Greenway Initiative (BGI) acquired to advance three resiliency and open space projects along the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway. The Greenway, an in-development 14-mile landscaped route for pedestrians, runners, and cyclists, will connect neighborhood parks and open spaces from Greenpoint to Bay Ridge. The capital allocation, which comes from the New York State Department of State’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Program with funding under Title 11 of the New York State Environmental Protection Fund, will go toward the creation of Columbia Waterfront Park as well as integrated flood protection for Red Hook and industrial areas in Sunset Park. Borough President Adams spoke about how these newly secured resources will further his vision for the future of Brooklyn’s waterfront.
“Brooklyn’s waterfront is beginning to receive the attention and investment it has long deserved, as we lay the foundation for what will be a dynamic, healthy, and resilient coastline that attracts millions to live, work, and play,” said Borough President Adams. “I am proud to partner with BGI on growing the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway, one plant at a time, into a sustainable space that connects residents like never before while addressing long-standing environmental concerns such as air quality and localized flooding. The Greenway will produce countless quality-of-life benefits for our borough while making our waterfront an even more attractive place to invest and create high-quality local jobs.”
“This will be the fifth Department of State contract on which the Borough President’s Office and BGI have collaborated,” said Milton Puryear, co-founder and director of project development for BGI. “This partnership is largely responsible for launching the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway’s planning, which has led to its implementation by the City, with the New York City Department of Transportation taking the lead. The Greenway has the ability to deliver multifaceted resiliency benefits in addition to its functioning as a non-motorized route for thousands of people, including the stormwater infrastructure going into Greenpoint. In Red Hook and Sunset Park, we would like to see the Greenway’s potential for contributing to coastal flood protection realized.”
Columbia Waterfront Park, located on Columbia Street between Degraw Street and Kane Street, will receive support toward its design and construction, complementing $500,000 for the project already provided by Borough President Adams in his Fiscal Year 2016 capital budget. BGI has envisioned this planned park’s landscape to serve as the northern end of the flood barrier system; Superstorm Sandy’s storm surge flooding extended up Degraw Street between Van Brunt Street and Columbia Street, as does the current one percent risk (100-year) floodplain.
Red Hook’s integrated flood protection system (IFPS) will be supported through funding that provides BGI with access to technical expertise as it advocates for the integration of certain Greenway segments in the system; last year, the City and State jointly announced $100 million in funding toward that system’s creation. This builds upon recommendations that the Greenway serve as an element in a flood barrier system for Red Hook, as illustrated in Stormwater Infrastructure Design Guidelines jointly released in January by Borough President Adams and BGI. The report, titled “Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway: An Agent for Green Infrastructure, Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience,” was prepared by BGI with consultants WE Design and eDesign Dynamics. Additionally, the announced funding will allow BGI to retain consultants who can assess the feasibility and probable cost of such an integrated flood protection system for industrial areas in Sunset Park; it is their belief that that the greenway could serve as a coastal flood barrier, which would help protect sites between Bush Terminal, Industry City, and Liberty View Industrial Plaza, making them more attractive to private business investment.
Borough President Adams also recognized additional REDC awards to dozens of Brooklyn projects, including efforts in which his office provided support such as Solar One’s Here Comes Solar community access program, which earned more than $2.9 million, and Pratt Institute’s Brooklyn Fashion + Design Incubator, which received $125,000. However, he expressed his disappointment with the overall allocation of about $13.8 million to 42 projects in Brooklyn, compared to the $2.25 billion total awarded statewide; this borough figure includes about $8.5 million to 28 Brooklyn-specific projects and about $5.3 million to citywide projects impacting Brooklyn. Borough President Adams called on Governor Andrew Cuomo and Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, chair of the REDCs, to achieve greater equity in the 2016 award process, noting that Brooklyn [Kings County] is the largest county in the state and thus contributes an outsized level of tax revenue compared to the investment it is seeing from the State.