Monday, April 09, 2007

In the News: Fume-Free (for Now) and Looking to the Future

Brooklyn's intrigue with the Gowanus Canal never ceases to amaze me. I must admit that as one who crosses it with regularity, I often find myself staring out over the rainbow colored waters and endless warehouses thinking of its dynamic history and (potentially) green future. For those attempting to make these visions a reality many issues abound for Gowanus. Developers, community groups, local businesses and waterfront open-space advocates will all have their say as the City Department of Planning "charts the future" of the Canal. I just hope they can find a green way to keep the rainbow color of the water...JB

April 8, 2007
By Jake Mooney

Ten years ago, the idea of worrying about the future of the land around the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn would have seemed a little strange, especially in hot weather. An underground tunnel designed to circulate the canal’s water had been out of service for decades, and as a result, sewage from nearby houses and storm drains overflowed regularly into the canal, emitting a formidable stench.

The sewage overflows continue, but with the tunnel reopened since 1999, the water circulates better — at least for the moment. The gradual return of fish and birds to the canal has enticed widely known developers like Shaya Boymelgreen and the Pennsylvania-based Toll Brothers, drawn to the neighborhood’s proximity to Park Slope and Carroll Gardens. These developers have proposed projects that could involve rezoning parts of Gowanus and adding hundreds if not thousands of residents to the area.

In response, staff members of the Department of City Planning are meeting this month and next with the local community board to evaluate the neighborhood’s needs and chart its future. Their goal is a framework for land use decisions that could allow manufacturing and residential development to coexist and maybe even open up some recreational space.

“There are so many possibilities that people have let their imaginations run wild, and that’s a good thing,” said Craig Hammerman, district manager of the local Community Board 6. “We just have to make sure that we can tether the possibilities to probabilities that are out there.”

Read more:

Community Board Six

Southwest Brooklyn Industrial Development Corporation

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