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Brooklyn Bridge Park

Brooklyn Bridge Park will transform unused piers and parking lots on the Brooklyn waterfront into 85 acres of park space featuring recreational amenities. The new park will also pay tribute to the area’s maritime and industrial history. In 2006, the Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation (BBPDC)--a subsidiary of the Empire State Development Corporation received the property rights to develop the park. The general project plan and the Environmental Impact Statement were approved later that year. Park construction began in 2008. Pier 1 opened in March 2010 and Pier 6 opened in June 2010.

Upon completion, Brooklyn Bridge Park will span 1.3 miles from Atlantic Avenue to north of the Manhattan Bridge. The award winning design includes two soccer fields, three tennis courts, 10 handball courts, six basketball courts, two volleyball courts, three playgrounds, a hockey rink, bike path, and a safe paddling zone. In addition to recreational areas, the park will rehabilitate and protect wetlands, meadows, dunes, marshes, and a coastal forest area. The current develop program also includes five residential buildings with 1,210 units of housing, one hotel with 225 rooms, and 151,200 square feet of retail space. One Brooklyn Bridge Park, a residential complex, opened its doors in 2007.

Taxes from the commercial and residential uses will supplement city and state funds for park maintenance and operations. The mixed-use tax-financing scheme was the source of concern from some local residents and advocacy groups, who felt that private funds usurp the public nature of the park. In 2006, the Brooklyn Bridge Park Defense Fund sued the BBPDC, arguing these private developments would violate the public trust doctrine, which prohibits the encroachment of private uses on public open spaces. Petitioners were also concerned violating the 2002 Memorandum of Understanding and the Empire State Development Corporation’s failure to take into account the 2000 Illustrative Plan. There was community support for the 2000 plan. In April 2008, the Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court dismissed the suit. The Brooklyn Bridge Park Defense Fund plans to file an appeal.

In late 2009, Mayor Bloomberg threatened to stop City funding for the Brooklyn Bridge Park unless the Empire State Development Corporation gave the City full control of the park. In early 2010, the Empire State Development Corporation accepted the Mayor’s offer of $55 million- enough to commence construction on Piers 2 and 3 and the park was transferred to the city in June 2010. Expanding park space has been a priority for Mayor Bloomberg. During his tenure, the Mayor has added over 500 acres of park space. Total construction of Brooklyn Bridge Park is expected to reach $350 million. As of March 2010, $125 million is still needed for construction as well as $16 million annually for maintenance and operations. The high cost is partially attributable to the rehabilitating and protecting the pilings under the piers.

Last Updated: June 24, 2010

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