NAG Statement on Mayor’s FY2013 Parks Budget

The following is NAG’s statement regarding the Mayor’s FY2013 budget for the Department of Parks, which will be presented before the City Council Committee on Parks & Recreation tomorrow:

Neighbors Allied for Good Growth (formerly Neighbors Against Garbage) developed out of our neighborhood’s desire to recapture its waterfront, reduce local environmental hazards, and advocate for public policies promoting healthy mixed-use communities. We advocate with and for the people who live and work in the North Brooklyn neighborhoods of Greenpoint and Williamsburg.

When NAG was founded, North Brooklyn’s waterfront was literally a garbage dump. We organized in 1995 to fight against waste transfer stations on the East River and to fight for public access to the waterfront. 17 years later, Williamsburg and Greenpoint have transformed, and today they are vibrant places where the people of New York City can enjoy open space, access to the water and a healthier life.

We are proud of what we have accomplished, but there is so much more to do.

North Brooklyn’s existing public parks are in desperate need of more funds for maintenance and capital improvements. The population of our community is exploding, and we are now a destination for New Yorkers and out of town tourists, all of which puts more stress on our existing parks.

North Brooklyn is also desperately awaiting the new parks and open space that was promised by the Bloomberg administration during the 2005 rezoning. Development has been quick to come to North Brooklyn, but the administration has been slow to pursue the acquisition of parkland at places such as Bushwick Inlet Park, Barge Park and Commercial Street. Promises were made to all the residents of our growing community, and they should be kept.

And finally, we should look to new opportunities to create new parks. In particular, NAG is advocating for the city to convert the city-owned parcel of land at Kent Avenue and South 6th Street to a public park. A park here would provide much-needed access to the waterfront for residents of the Southside and all of North Brooklyn, and someday connect the proposed Domino and south Williamsburg waterfront esplanades. The city’s Vision 2020 Waterfront Plan recognizes that this property should be accessible to the public – let’s make it so.

Thank you for your support of parks and open space in North Brooklyn.

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