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Postponed! Ft. Greene Park makeover pushed back after community demands more time to consider

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They put it in park.

The Department of Parks and Recreation postponed a controversial plan to revamp a section of Fort Greene Park until September after locals and pols demanded the community board delay voting on the proposal until more people, particularly those in nearby public housing complexes, can offer their suggestions — a move that will hopefully result in a plan that works for everyone, said residents who fought for more community engagement in the process.

“We hope to have an authentic process where people, especially the public housing residents, have a real honest chance to talk about this plaza,” said Fort Greene resident Sandy Reiburn. “I feel like this is an exception to the rule as far as the community having a real buy-in with the community board — it’s a rare, but I’m grateful for it.”

The parks department presented a final makeover plan to Community Board 2’s Parks Committee on June 19, which included re-designing the current entry at Myrtle Avenue and St. Edwards Street into a grand entrance with a water feature, cutting down some trees, resurfacing the basketball courts, fixing the sidewalks, and adding more lighting.

But the agenda for the meeting was released just four days prior, leaving many area residents — such as those in the Walt Whitman Houses whose monthly Tenants Association meeting was on the same night — unable to adjust their schedules to attend the vote.

The committee approved the $10.5 million plan by a vote of 5–0 with one abstention, despite demands from locals and Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo (D–Fort Greene) to postpone the decision until more community members could see the proposal and offer their two cents.

And on Monday night, residents and pols showed up en masse with signs reading “Stop the vote” and called for the Executive Committee — who makes the final decisions while the board is out for summer — to delay reaching a verdict.

“I respectfully request that we would like more time before your vote to have an opportunity to weigh in,” said state Sen. Velmanette Montgomery (D–Fort Greene). “I would like you to be able to hear from the community what their concerns are.”

Parks Commissioner Marty Maher warned locals that the project’s price tag could go up due to inflation if it was pushed back any longer, but the pols told him they were convinced a few months would not result in skyrocketing costs.

The parks department will now conduct more outreach on the plan over the summer — although it did not specify where — and return to the community board in September for another vote, according to a rep.

“We’ll continue engagement this summer as we talk to our neighbors about the plan for Fort Greene Park,” said spokeswoman Maeri Ferguson.

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at lgill@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill
Updated 10:04 am, June 30, 2017
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Reasonable discourse

Resident from Fort Greene says:
Comm. Maher is right that the cost of the Parks Without Borders plan will rise in the next couple of months. At the June 19 parks committee meeting it jumped from $7,000,000 to $13,000,000. The PWB price tag almost doubled in an hour and a half. They're fancy designers who don't come cheap.
June 29, 8:26 pm
Marcia says:
These "residents" are total retards, wasting everyone's time and money. Things they do not appreciate because they don't have jobs, and just live by taking from other people.
June 30, 3:28 am
local parent from Fort Greene says:
Very disappointed in this decision. That part of the park is rundown and needs a makeover. There have been at least two public hearings. This is Cumbo grandstanding during an election year.
June 30, 7:28 am
Niala from Fort Greene says:
How can anyone be disappointed in taking the time to get something right? The board voted to take 2 months to work out the kinks in the plan, not dump it. I think that shows wisdom. Good for CB2.
July 1, 11:44 am
Lucy Woo from Sunset Park says:
"Morris"
First you try to steal Marcia's identity. Then you bash her (perhaps intimidated by her trans identity, are you phobic?). Then, to add insult to injury, you mansplain the whole thing to her. You are just like Donald Trump and Hitler.
July 2, 1:52 pm
Beth from Fort Greene says:
The park redesign has nothing to do with your sexual identities or Hitler or Trump. Can you concentrate on the issue in the story?
July 3, 1:48 pm

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