“The city can’t just rest on its laurels and say it made an offer,” said State Assemblyman Joe Lentol on the steps of City Hall, where the North Brooklyn community alongside elected officials turned up the heat on an already sweltering summer day for Bushwick Inlet Park. It’s because the $100 million offer that the city made to acquire the last remaining parcel of prospective park land expired yesterday, Monday, August 8.
This puts the future of all 28 acres of open space in a precarious position and Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park is not taking it lying down. With impassioned chants of “Where’s our park?” and a series of speeches by community leaders and elected officials, they demanded that Mayor de Blasio does what it takes to deliver the waterfront park that was promised 11 years ago.
We’ve come a long way since this time last year, when we reported that Parks Commissioner Silver said that there were no acquisition dollars to purchase the CitiStorage site. There was also the possibility of residential zoning, which could’ve meant a very lucrative deal to build more condos, but that was nixed a few months later by Mayor de Blasio.
Here is where the fate of Bushwick Inlet Park stands now—as Joe Lentol put it—”We need to demand, and I already have… so that there could be negotiation, or the process of eminent domain must be begun by the City of New York.”
He added that if the Mayor refuses on both counts, he along with State Senator Daniel Squadron and Senator Martin Malave Dilan, is prepared to go to the Governor. Together they introduced a bill to allow the state to use eminent domain and force the city to pay for it.
Though the offer expired yesterday, Public Advocate Letitia James pointed out that the deadline was an arbitrary date and that the $100 mill is still in the budget. “I don’t care about any countdown. I’m gonna quote to you a great philosopher. His name was Yogi Berra. It’s never over until it’s over!” said Joe Lentol. So the pressure is on from the forces of local government for Mayor de Blasio to step up to the plate.
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