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Brooklyn Bridge Park Defense Fund Letter to Mayor Deblasio

Brooklyn Bridge Park Defense Fund letter to Mayor Deblasio requesting he eliminated new housing on Pier 6 and designated the area an actual City Park. Dated 5/1/14.
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  B ROOKLYN B RIDGE P ARK D EFENSE F UND , I NC . 23 State Street ! Brooklyn, New York 11201 ! 718.855.3982 ! Judith Francis,  President  Linda DeRosa, Vice-President  Andrew Reynolds,  Secretary, Robert Stone, Treasurer  Mary Goodman,  At-large A DVISORY  B OARD Anthony A. Manheim,  Past President,  Brooklyn Heights Assoc. & Founder, Brooklyn Bridge  Park Coalition (currently  BBP Conservancy) Barbara Charton,  Pratt University  Robert Chira,  Attorney  Fred Kent,  President, Project  for Public Spaces Joseph Merz,  Architect  C OALITION  P ARTNERS Carroll Gardens  Neighborhood AssociationCobble Hill Association DUMBO Neighborhood  Alliance Ft. Greene Association Friends of Brooklyn Bridge Park Park Slope Neighbors Riverside Tenants AssociationVinegar Hill AssociationWillowtown Association S UPPORTING  O RGANIZATIONS  Project for Public Spaces NYC Park Advocates Sierra Club The Brooklyn Bridge Park Defense Fund is a 501 c 3 not for profit, all-volunteer organization dedicated to developing a year-round recreational PUBLIC PARK along the Brooklyn waterfront that can be accessed and enjoyed by all. Dear Mayor de Blasio,For nearly 10 years our coalition of neighborhood associations, city and state park and environ-mental groups, have worked together in advocating a true park along Brooklyn’s waterfront, fromVinegar Hill to Cobble Hill.Over this time we helped elect two politicians – Senator Squadron and Councilman Lander – whomade “no more housing inside Brooklyn Bridge Park” a cornerstone of their campaigns and ulti-mately, their success. Our coalition’s visibility and support helped Senator Squadron secure a veto over housing on Pier6 at Atlantic Ave and at John Street in DUMBO when Governor Paterson swapped the State’scontrol of the park for the Javits Center. The veto was key – it was our “guarantee” that no morehousing would rise inside the borders of this park, and alternative funding mechanisms would beemployed. Our coalition also developed the idea that became the Committee on Alternatives to Housing.This study explored ways to pay for the park without more housing. The public hearings associat-ed with this study demonstrated the vast number of ways to pay for the park – better, equitable,less invasive, more diverse ways - without resorting to the elite and very undemocratic use of PILOTs, and the national precedent of housing inside a public park. This study, while politicized in its final version by Mayor Bloomberg who added arbitrary conditions to the funding sources inthe final report, still proves that more housing is not needed to pay for Brooklyn Bridge Park! We are now at a crossroads and look to your leadership to pull us away from the draconian meas-ures employed by Mayor Bloomberg.We are delighted that our politicians have again voiced, thistime in unison, their request for alternatives to new housing inside the park.We need all of our parks as parks , and more of them, as the city’s population explodes. Whenhousing came into Brooklyn Bridge Park, all year round recreation was eliminated. Private hous-ing – then and now – conflicts with true recreational needs of local residents. The important,community-driven plan for swimming, baseball fields, a year-round recreation center, and iceskating, all went away in favor of uber-landscaped walkways, smorgasboard tourist attractions,and viewing platforms. It took us 8 years to finally get three soccer fields but the other features,long advocated, are permanently erased by the BBP authority. We have sacrificed our park for tourism and now must “pay” again with more housing that isboth out of scale and in conflict with the respite a “park” should offer . PILOT’s also force taxpayers to pay-again as park dwellers get to keep their taxes for their lawns yet require schools,fire and police protection that others have the burden of financing. We can not believe that youradministration would condone such undemocratic use of public funds.   Mayor Bill de BlasioCity HallNew York, NY 10007May 1, 2014  B ROOKLYN B RIDGE P ARK D EFENSE F UND , I NC . Page 2 -- Letter to Mayor Bill deBlasio We therefore ask that you: 1. Eliminate new housing inside of Brooklyn Bridge Park.2. Designate Brooklyn Bridge Park a public park,  protected for public use, in perpetuity. 3. Create a community-driven board to develop the final aspects of the park, long advocated.4. Make this a NYC Parks Department park and eliminate the costly and redundant “authority” that bars park union workers, ignores the voice of the public, and gives contracts to favored vendors/friends outside of public scrutiny. This authority mocks the very principles of a  fair NYC government you so eloquently espoused in your campaign. We ask that you consider our petition and meet with us to discuss our requests, and to work with you on the administra-tion of the park and how it can be funded without the need of more private housing inside its borders. Sincerely,Judith Francis, President BBPDFLinda DeRosa, VP, BBPDFBob Stone, Treasurer, BBPDFMary Goodman, At Large, BBPDFRoy Sloane, President, Cobble Hill AssociationRichard Norton, President, Fort Greene Association (representing Cobble Hill and its 10,000 residents) (representing Ft. Greene and its 8000 residents)Aldona Vaicunas, President, Vinegar Hill AssociationEric McClure, President, Park Slope Neighbors(representing Vinegar Hill and its 1000 residents) (representing Park Slope and its 40,000 residents)Maria Pagano, President, Carroll Gardens Neighborhood Assoc. (representing Carroll Gardens and its 30,000 residents)Doreen Gallo, President, DUMBO Neighborhood Alliance Lenore Mitchell, Chair, Riverside Tenants Assoc(representing DUMBO and its 8,000 residents) (representing Willowtown’s AT White 1500 tenants)Ken Baer, Executive Director, Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter(representing 140,000 members in New York State)Geoffrey Croft, President NYC Park Advocates(representing NYC parks and the 8 million park users)  cc:Letitia James, NYC Public AdvocateScott Stringer, NYC ComptrollerCongresswoman Nydia VelazquezState Senator Daniel SquadronAssemblwoman Joan MilmanCouncilman Steve LevinCouncilman Brad LanderDeputy Mayor Anthony ShorrisDeputy Mayor for Finance Alicia Glen, Chair BBP Board of DirectorsParks Commissioner Mitchell SilverMelissa Mark-Viverto, Chair, NYC CouncilMark Levine, Parks Committee Chair, NYC CouncilJonathan Viguers, Borough Representative for Mayor deBlasio
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