On Friday, the first small grants from the Greenpoint Community Evironmental Fund‘s (GCEF) $19.5 million were awarded to 18 environmental improvement projects in the neighborhood. The funds are ExxonMobil’s retribution for spilling 17-30 million gallons of crude oil into Newtown Creek. Thanks, Exxon!
This initial round of funding amounts to $395,000 (between $5,000 and $25,000 per project with matching funds), and encompasses high-quality, locally-led initiatives that will enhance open space, green the hood, and improve environmental education.
These 18 projects were selected from 46 small grant proposals. There are also 45 large grant and 5 legacy grant pre-proposals going through the selection process, so there are more to come!
Here are some highlights:
North Brooklyn Boat Club received 3 grants, totaling $74,512 including one for a campaign called “Don’t Put Your Butt in the Creek,” which will put cigarette-butt disposal bins outside local bars and restaurants.
The Newtown Creek Alliance received 2 grants to transform Henry Street into a publicly accessible and ecologically beneficial “open space” offering public water access. The organization also plans to build a “living dock” in the same location to provide a landing for small boats as well as a habitat for indigenous plants and animals, i.e. dock algae! (our best guess).
Other recipients include the Greenpoint Reformed Church, which will determine the feasibility of installing a green roof, 61 Franklin Street and Java Street Gardens, both of which will installing solar panels, and the NYC Audubon Society (3 grants total), which will create an “Urban Oasis” (ooooooh!) at McGolrick Park that will provide food and shelter for migratory birds, as well as native plants (the program includes incorporating education with local schools, PS110 & St. Stanislaus Kostka Catholic Academy).
Additional projects involve a composting study, a youth-oriented public arts project, and environmental education programs at several schools as well as the YMCA. See all of the project descriptions here.