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Update: Possible Alternatives to Housing Options Vetoed

Brooklyn Bridge Park's Alternatives to Housing Committee voted on which options should be explored

Update 3:26 pm: Article has been revised to include a statement from State Senator Daniel Squadron.


Last night in the regal Blue Room at City Hall, the Committee on Alternatives to Housing in Brooklyn Bridge Park rejected a plan championed by State Senator Daniel Squadron that would collect a portion of taxes from nearby properties whose values go up because of their proximity to the newly constructed park.

This particular plan, called the Park Increment Recapture program, or PIRC, was one many members of the community adjacent to the park had rallied behind.

"The committee's mayoral appointees shot down the best alternative to housing we have," said Jeff Strabone, area activist and former President of the Cobble Hill Association following the meeting.

Seth Pinsky, President of the NYC Economic Development Corporation said the option should be dismissed because it could divert revenue that could go to the city. The criteria for possible alternatives to housing clearly states it cannot divert funds  that the city would otherwise receive. 

Dorothy Siegel says the argument that the revenue could otherwise go to the city is moot.

The plan "draws on money not seen in the city budget, it doesn't draw from a budget that exists," she said after the meeting.

"Parks like this always bring revenues," she added, noting a study on the real estate values of properties adjacent to the Hudson River Park on Manhattan's west side.

Paul Nelson, a representative from 's office, wanted the option considered.

"I'd like to leave it on the table, because of Squadron's plan," he said. "I don't want to exclude something so early in the process."

Squadron's chief of staff John Raskin also voted to consider the option.

On Tuesday, Squadron issued a statement saying he was "disappointed that unanimity was not reached on the Tax Increment Financing component of my earlier Park Increment Recapture (PIRC) proposal." 

But Squadron also saw the support of another proposal as a win -- to pay for park maintenance through fees paid by residents at the soon-to-be residential Jehovah's Witnesses Watchtower buildings.

"I am pleased that the Committee unanimously agreed to consider the Watchtower buildings, which were the most valuable properties in the PIRC proposal." 

The Committee, which met only to vote on the 12 proposals suggested by residents and others at recent public hearings (see  and ) and through written testimony, also voted to take the direct city funding and park budgetary reductions options off the table.

The park requires approximately $16 million annually for up-keep and maintenance.

The nine other proposals, which include advertising, the formation of a Business Improvement District (BID), other commercial real estate development, fundraising and philanthropy and taxes from the upcoming expected sale of the Jehovah's Witnesses Watchtower properties that line the waterfront, were all recommended for future study by Bay Area Economics, a consulting group that is set to turn in a report by February.

Until then, residents will remain active and focused.

"We have not yet begun to fight," said Strabone.

George Kral December 22, 2010 at 02:00 PM
Good summary, very concise and clear.
MiltonJanella October 21, 2011 at 05:48 AM
The query is: how will you do. It is very important to get a niche marketplace that you're eager to market it their products.


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