In the most recent development of the ExxonMobil pollution payout, remaining settlement money will be allocated to building Brooklyn parks. Separately, the Columbia Street Greenway expansion has also received a recent infusion of cash.
From Polluted Area to Park
Stunning renderings have been released displaying the future of the drab and dirty Brooklyn shoreline along Bushwick Inlet, an area set to be transformed with the help of financing from lawsuits against longtime polluters.
The recently allocated last $4.25 million chunk of 2011’s $19.5 million state settlement with ExxonMobil will benefit multiple environmentally friendly city projects, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced Tuesday, including the area along Bushwick Inlet, according to DNAinfo.
The money will be given with the express purpose of restoring what ExxonMobil helped to destroy through the release of an estimated 17 million gallons of oil below Greenpoint through the decades, resulting in the contamination of at least 55 acres of the area.
The money will be allocated piecemeal for a 21,711-square-foot runoff-prevention rooftop, community and green space for Newtown Creek at 520 Kingsland Avenue ($1 million), a McCarren Park urban farm ($500,000), a McGolrick Park bee and butterfly sanctuary ($562,056), shoreline restoration and public space conversion at 56 Quat Street ($599,200 for the Greenpoint Monitor Museum), and the addition of greener infrastructures and streetscapes along West, Commercial and Calyer streets, as well as McGuinness Boulevard ($1.6 million).
An additional $12.7 million of the Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund, as the grants are known, will be matched by grant recipients.
With the help of grant money, the bleak plot of Greenpoint land abutting the Bushwick Inlet, known as 56 Quay Street will be, according to renderings, transformed into a “living shoreline” and the site of the Greenpoint Monitor Museum.
Currently vacant, the lot will be reimagined as a public green space, the shoreline will be restored and the site’s elevation raised on a platform that will bring the area up to the new, recommended FEMA flood elevation height following Hurricane Sandy.
According to a pamphlet (PDF) on the Greenpoint Monitor Museum’s website, the implementation of ecology, community and history will transform the site so it may “demonstrate the essence of what resiliency can be.” Furthermore, the design of the park, “integrates and capitalizes on these features to bring this park into a new era of social responsibility.”
In addition to a living shoreline habitat, the pamphlet proposes such lofty site features as educational and ecological boardwalks, engineered berms, a sculptural lawn and a terraced bluff. The space will be designed by AECOM, a global company that has previously worked on the Barclays Center as well as the implementation of safety improvements along Utica Avenue, in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s USS Monitor National Marine Sanctuary.
More Attention for the Columbia Street Waterfront
In contrast to the forward momentum of the Greenpoint Monitor Museum and park, the Columbia Street Waterfront District has faced nothing but delays. Despite the recent allocation of funding for the two-acre park between Kane and Degraw streets along Columbia Street, ground likely won’t be broken for years to come, although conceptual designs were revealed for the project back in 2012, DNAinfo reported.
To be built by the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative, the park — along with several other Greenway projects — recently received more than $1.8 million from the New York City Regional Development Council, Borough President Adams announced last week. Adams himself has allocated over $500,000 to the project.
The Brooklyn Greenway Initiative represents a planning partner for the would-be park, as well as a key player in the larger development of the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway, a longterm project currently encompassing 23 NYC Department of Transportation capital project extending from Greenpoint to Bay Ridge.
While the Columbia Street park has amassed roughly $1.7 million in dedicated funding to date, a total of $3 million to $8 million will be required to make the park a reality.