On the third day of Christmas (aka December 27) instead of three turtle doves, Mayor Bill de Blasio presented a $75M check to go towards developing the CitiStorage site to become part of Bushwick Inlet Park. “Bushwick Inlet Park shows how much can change when a community stands together,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “This $75 million investment will ensure 27 acres of world-class green space on the North Brooklyn waterfront are completed for families to enjoy for generations to come.”
The $75 million in new funds, combined with $17 million previously allocated and $1 million in discretionary funding from the NYC Council, brings the total invested in park development to $93M. The new funds will go toward the demolition of the former CitiStorage warehouse and the design and construction of the next phases the park.
The mayor presented the check to Bushwick Inlet Park co-chairs Katherine Thompson and Steve Chesler saying, “For your persistence, your noble values, and your love of the community may I present to you 75 million dollars for Bushwick Inlet Park!”
Bushwick Inlet Park Co-chair Katherine Thompson acknowledged the community support and activism that persisted throughout two decades so the park could be a reality, “We are a mighty coalition of local elected officials, organizations, Community Board 1, and hundreds of residents who are passionate and proud advocates for this park.” She acknowledged the elected officials present in addition to “[U.S. Representative] Carolyn Maloney, State Senator Julia Salazar, [NYC Council Member] Antonio Reynoso, Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams was actively involved, and even Chuck Schumer our senator, and our newly elected council member, Lincoln Restler has been a great advocate and fighter to complete our park. I just want to keep going an applaud our coalition members our strength and power comes from grass roots community support.” North Brooklyn Parks Alliance, North Brooklyn Neighbors, El Puente, Sustainable Williamsburg, North Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, Newtown Creek Alliance were among those mentioned. “The support and partnership are invaluable and when we come together and fight for what we need and want we move earth we get parks done.” Assembly Member Emily Gallagher’s and NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer’s support were also acknowledged.
Present at the funding celebration were Parks Brooklyn Borough Commissioner Martin Maher, NY State Senator Brian Kavanagh, District Leader Kristina Naplatarski, and District 33 Council Member Stephen Levin.
In one of his final appearances as District 33’s council member, Levin said, “The original commitment to build this park was not made by Mayor de Blasio it was made by Mayor Bloomberg in 2005. … keeping the commitments, that’s the hard work. And so for the last eight years Mayor Bill de Blasio and his team have made this a priority.” He added how when the price of the land ballooned the previous administration backed off its commitment to build the park. “In order to have a functional government and a functional city we have to be able to have trust that when a commitment is made the commitment is going to be kept. … And this mayor came through on that. It’s an investment in the idea of public works. This is not a public-private partnership. This is a public park,” he continued.
“This has been a tremendous focus of this community and really an example of how when many, many people come together and push for something and are persistent we actually get it done. This is really an exciting day.” State Senator Brian Kavanagh said, “Bushwick Inlet Park is a vital green space long-promised to a community with a rich tradition of environmentalism, but not nearly enough parkland or green open spaces. I thank Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Member Steve Levin for following through on the promise of this project and delivering this critical funding—a huge victory and an incredible testament to the determined advocacy efforts of so many residents and community leaders, whom I’ve been happy to join. I look forward to continuing to work side by side with Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park, residents of the community, and my colleagues in elected office—including Councilmember-elect Lincoln Restler, Borough President-elect Antonio Reynoso, and Mayor-elect Eric Adams—until the vision for Bushwick Inlet Park is fully realized.”
A summary status and history of each section of BIP is viewable through an interactive map on the Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park’s website. The map was created through a collaboration with the Pratt Institute’s Spatial Analysis and Visualization Initiative and grants awarded from the City Parks Foundation and the Brooklyn Borough President.
To view the check presentation: