Yesterday afternoon twenty five churches and a few community groups and political leaders got together outside the Barclays Arena to protest the lack of local jobs and affordable housing thus far at the Atlantic Yards project. We’d estimate there were maybe 150 or so people there (Norman Oder is going with 130-150). There was plenty of oration from the group of ministers, led by Brown Memorial Baptist Church pastor Clinton Miller who’d spearheaded the event, and chanting from the crowds. Reverend Clinton Miller of the Brown Memorial Baptist Church proclaimed the group the Coalition for Arena Justice and said, “”We the people of Brooklyn have been sold a bad bill of goods.” (You can see a video of Miller here.) Councilwoman Letitia James also showed up, saying “We need jobs that can sustain families and not jobs selling hot dogs,” according to Carroll Gardens Patch. The Brooklyn Speaks website had summarized the reason of the protest on its website ahead of time: “Hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars, zoning overrides, and the power of eminent domain were given to developer Forest City Ratner in exchange for affordable housing, permanent and construction jobs, and public benefits. More than five years after the project’s approval, New Yorkers still aren’t close to getting what we were promised.” Similar sentiments were echoed on the flyer for the event: “Ratner gave us is word in 2006 and what do we have to show for it? Three hundred units of housing by 2022 and 645 construction jobs? Brooklyn demands better!” Prospect Heights Patch ran a response from the developer in a preview post over the weekend: “We understand fully the need for more jobs and more housing in Brooklyn and throughout the City, which is why we’ve been working very hard to make Atlantic Yards a reality. But there’s a certain irony that people who were opposed to the project, and worked hard to stall the project, now criticize it for not delivering fast enough the benefits.” Related: Atlantic Yards Report reported on Saturday that Forest City restated its intention to break ground on the first residential tower this calendar year. You can see lots of photos of the protest on the jump as well as a video on the Brownstoner Facebook page. More coverage at Atlantic Yards Report and Prospect Heights Patch.
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