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City is hungry to lure new food vendor to Carroll Park; activists voice concern

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Carroll Gardens activists were caught off guard last week to learn that the city Parks Department has issued a request for proposals (RFP) to put a food vender in Carroll Park.

The park, bounded by Carroll, Smith, President and Court streets, has a popular playground and an active roller hockey, softball and basketball scene.

“The community should be consulted and the volunteer committee should have been given notice,” said Glenn Kelly, an active member of the Committee to Improve Carroll Park, when this paper told him of the city’s plans.

“I think it’s rude and impolite considering the city relies heavily on volunteers in the park. I have a problem with the fact that the city administration thinks it’s necessary that parks pay for themselves when they already do so, but the city keeps the money,” he added.

Kelly said that an ice cream truck currently pays the city to park and sell ice cream next to the park and keeps the money.

“This happens all over the city and the city rakes in astronomical amounts of money from park vendor revenue and give very little back,” he said, adding he is not absolutely against a food vendor in Carroll Park, but wants to know more about it.

According to the RFP, which the city issued May 22 with a return date of June 26, potential venders may not grill, but menu items may include the traditional hot dogs and pretzels.

It also suggests the sale of premium coffees and teas, muffins, rolls, bagels, premium cookies, international and ethnic foods, soups, fruit, spring water, juices and gelato.

“We invite you to propose your most inventive, exciting food idea, whether it is a pushcart selling an assortment of healthful, fresh salads to people on the go, or a mobile truck offering hot and cold delicacies from a distant homeland,” reads the RFP. “Whatever the idea, we want to see it. Partner with us and contribute to the flourishing food culture of New York!”

Other Brooklyn parks included in the RFP are Brooklyn Bridge Park at the intersection of Main and Plymouth streets, inside McCarren Park at the intersection of Driggs and Lorimer streets, and Red Hook Park at the intersection of Bay and Henry streets.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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