The sign along Franklin Street says it all: "Behold Bushwick Inlet! Where's our park?"
Locals have been fighting for a park along the Greenpoint and Williamsburg waterfront since 2005, when former Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration rezoned almost 200 blocks throughout the neighborhoods to allow the construction of residential buildings along the East River.
To offset the development, the community was promised a 28-acre park, which was estimated to cost between $60 million and $90 million. Ten years and nearly $225 million later, only 8.7 acres are finished.
"NYC Parks continues to take substantive steps toward the completion of Bushwick Inlet Park," Mayor Bill de Blasio's deputy press secretary Monica Klein said when asked about the status of its construction.
The completed park space is on one of three parcels of land in the area already purchased by the city. The city budget has $50 million set aside for a fourth piece.
In the middle of the park space is an 11-acre CitiStorage site, on the market for $500 million, listed by its owner Norman Brodsky.
A community activist group, Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park, is leading the fight to make sure the CitiStorage site becomes parkland -- as opposed to a residential building -- should it be purchased.
"For me, it's a health issue," said Jans Rasmussen, a 19-year resident of Greenpoint and a lead organizer for FBIP. "There's lots of research that connects lack of open space to disastrous health outcomes."
The group is coordinating with its local community board to draft a resolution to prevent the zoning of the CitiStorage lot for residential use. A late-September meeting with the mayor's office indicated the city favors the resolution.
(Credit: Jeremy Bales)