The reservoir's historic structures & ecosystems are an opportunity to create a unique environmental education center for our children & their future.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Important Meeting

The following meeting might be of interest to all those concerned about the future of, not just Highland Park and the Ridgewood Reservoir, but all NYC parks:

Sierra Club Presents: The Selling of Brooklyn Bridge Park
When: Friday, May 30 –6:30 pm

Where: Judson Memorial Church, Washington Sq. Park South (enter at 235 Thompson St.)

Speakers: Judi Francis, President, Brooklyn Bridge Park Defense Fund. Roy Sloane, civic activist

Urban parks are becoming our newest endangered species. The 20-year effort to secure a park in an 85-acre strip along 1.5 miles of Brooklyn's East River waterfront is a prime example of how the seemingly good intention of creating "parks that pay for themselves" is leading to the actual demise of public parks.

The prospect of increasing commercialization of NYC parks, as well as efforts to mobilize public support for a genuine Brooklyn Bridge Park, will be discussed by Judi Francis, president of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Defense Fund, and Roy Sloane, who has led public outreach efforts as a board member of the BB Park Local Development Corp.

Requiring parks to pay their own way is an extension of the relentless cutbacks in public funding for NYC parks in recent decades, from 1.5% of the municipal budget in former years to only 0.4% currently.

Unlike traditional parks, which are administered by the NYC Dept. of Parks & Recreation, the Brooklyn Bridge Park is being created by a subsidiary of the Empire State Development Corp., a state agency whose primary mission is promotion of economic activity. Apart from $150 million committed by the city and state for construction, the park will have to generate enough income to pay for ongoing operation and upkeep.

The main source, under the approved plan, will be payments from owners of apartments in high-rise housing with 1,200 luxury units that private developers will be allowed to build within the park – a massive intrusion into its narrow swath of green space.

Free and open to the public. Wine, cheese and snacks will be served.

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