Nov. 1, 2017 by Nathaly Pesantez
WILLIAMSBURG — Bushwick Inlet Park, the waterfront site between Greenpoint and Williamsburg slated to be developed into a nearly 30-acre public park, will receive $17.5 million in funds required for renovations and for developing barren parcels into parkland.
The announcement was initially made during an Oct. 18 District 33 town hall meeting with Mayor Bill de Blasio, where it was revealed that the funds will go toward developing and remediating two parcels of land acquired years prior out of the six that make up the long-promised Bushwick Inlet Park, first put forth over a decade ago.
“We will commit over $17 million to bring those sites online right away for the community,” de Blasio said at the town hall.
Out of the $17.5 million allocated, $7.7 million will be used to develop 50 Kent, the space between North 11 and North 12 Streets on Kent Avenue that once housed the Brooklyn Flea, into a new park. The space was acquired in 2007 via eminent domain, and underwent remediation by the National Grid after decades of contamination from acting as the site of a gas manufacturing plant.
The remaining $9.8 million will go toward remediating and developing the Motiva site, the parcel surrounding the actual Bushwick Inlet. The parcel was purchased by the city in 2014, at the beginning of the de Blasio administration, for $4.65 million from Motiva Enterprises LLC, a former joint venture between the Shell Oil Company and Saudi Refining Inc, according to city records.
The area surrounding the inlet will undergo its design stage with the help from the community in Spring 2018.
“…We are closer than ever before to fulfilling a longstanding need in the community,” Councilmember Stephen Levin said in a statement.
The announcement on the allocation, formally made by the mayor’s office on Oct. 31, comes after the city struck a deal to purchase an 11-acre waterfront site for $160 million in late 2016. The parcel, also known as the CitiStorage site, was the last remaining parcel out of six acquired by the city over the years for the 25.4-acre park development.
The $160 million purchase of the CitiStorage site, however, came after a fire wrecked the warehouse in 2015, which motivated the Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park, a neighborhood volunteer organization founded in 2008 that advocates for the development, and Councilmember Stephen Levin, to demand that the city revive stalled efforts to buy the parcel, decisive to the park’s future.
“Now that the fight for the last piece of land is over, we begin a new phase of community activation,” reads part of a post written by Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park after the November 2016 announcement.
Bushwick Inlet Park was first proposed in 2005 after the Bloomberg administration rezoned nearly 200 blocks along the then mostly industrial Greenpoint and Williamsburg waterfront to allow for residential development. Part of the rezoning called for the development of a 27.8 acre park, slightly larger than current plans stated by de Blasio’s office, yet still stretching 5.5 blocks from the Bushwick Inlet near Quay Street down to North 9th Street and sharing a border with the State of New York – East River State Park.
The park is envisioned in a 2006 “working” master plan released by the city with amenities like a boat launch, gardens, a beach, and a dog run, among other features.
So far, 3.5 acres of the park, one of the six parcels, have been open for public use, which includes a synthetic multipurpose turf field that opened in 2010 between North 9th and North 10th Streets, and a community facility and green roof adjacent to it that opened in 2013. The funding allocated toward 50 Kent and the Motive parcels will bring an additional 3.6 acres of developed parkland to the overall site.