Well I hate to say I told you so, but even as CitiStorage still burns, the 11 acre lot could be sold to private developers–as soon as tomorrow, warns City Councilman Steve Levin. Many of you may recall from last week’s post, the future of the CitiStorage site was on shaky ground, but I doubt any of us would imagine losing our parkland so soon.
According to the FDNY, the site is still under investigation and investigators have yet to access the origin of the fire due to hazardous conditions. For the unforseeable future, we won’t know if there was foul play that sent CitiStorage up in smoke, but we do know the land is up for grabs, and perhaps to the highest bidder.
So while I don my silk turban and gaze once again into my crystal ball to predict what other crazy conspiracy theories might come true–like arson charges and measly insurance payouts–I am here to warn you: A war is afoot to reclaim CitiStorage as parkland and it’s time we start sharpening our skewers.
The South Williamsburg neighborhood group El Puente is hosting a CRITICAL CALL TO ACTION tonight and everyone from Williamsburg and Greenpoint should be there.
In an email blast, El Puente paints a real grim picture if we don’t get out of the cracks of our couches and do something pronto.
Our City Councilperson Steve Levin has confirmed that, in the aftermath of the fire at CitiStorage, one thing has become very clear: if our neighborhood does not raise its voice – loud and unified – there is almost zero chance that the City will move to fulfill the promises for this park space made in the 2005 Waterfront Rezoning Agreement.
And the situation couldn’t be more dire. The 11 acre CitiStorage property – the center and essential core of the promised 28 acre Bushwick Inlet Park – could be sold for private development as-of-right (M31 commercial zoning) tomorrow.
The options appear limited:
- The City pays market rate for the Citistorage property (unlikely because the asking price is in the hundreds of millions)
- The City takes the property through Eminent Domain (less likely since that strategy backfired on the City on the contiguous lot)
- The City negotiates with the owner to develop part of the property in return for open space on the rest (reneges on the 2005 WRZA promise and shortchanges the community on desperately needed open space)
- Owner “gives” the property (or accepts a much-reduced price) as a legacy gift to the community
Without this promised park space, the per capita open space for our fast-filling community will be one of, if not, THE LOWEST in the entire city. That is not just a number, that is a palpable sense of claustrophobia, a health hazard and an irreversible decline in our quality of life – for us and, even more tangibly, for our kids.
We have no choice but to organize and rally for the future of north Brooklyn.
Help plan the action and get the word out, please come to the OSA Community Committee meeting:
EL PUENTE 211 South 4th & Roebling
You heard them folks. Time raise some hell. This isn’t the first time we Greenpointers have gone up to bat; it’s high time we start swinging again.