More than 100 people are vying for a chunk of $19.5 million in oil spill compensation money meant to gussy up Greenpoint.
The projects seeking money from the Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund, set up as part of a court settlement for the neighborhood that suffered through an oil spill that was three times the size of the Exxon Valdez disaster, come in all shapes and sizes. They include creating a green space next to Bushwick Inlet Park and building an environmental education center out of shipping containers. One local church wants to start a rooftop garden to supply its food pantry.
“We want to come up with ways to make the neighborhood more sustainable,” said Ann Kansfield, pastor of Greenpoint Reformed Church on Milton Street.
Kansfield is asking for $3,000 in pre-proposal money to fund a feasibility study on whether the roof of the church can be redone to support a garden. If it can, the church plans to ask for another grant to fund the veggie overhaul.
The piggy bank is a trust created by the state as part of a court settlement for the damage wrought by the oil that seeped into Newtown Creek and soaked Greenpoint’s soil over several decades.
Administrators started accepting applications in October. Proposals are split into two types: small grants for amounts from $3,000 to $25,000 and “legacy” grants good for $25,001 to $3 million. At least 44 organizations applied for the small grants and at least 48 applied for legacy grant proposals or pre-proposals.
Alpha One Labs has asked for $4.3 million to build an environmentally friendly building out of shipping containers. It hopes to use the structure as a classroom for topics such as water conservation and clean energy.
“A place like this has important implications for enabling the community to find and develop new patterns for health,” said James Carlson, who submitted the proposal.
The fund plans to announce the winners of the small grants later this month. The state attorney general officially holds the purse strings but has left the grant-making to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services and the North Brooklyn Development Corporation, a pro-business group.Some Greenpointers voiced concerns in September that the process would be gamed by political insiders.