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Bridge Park activists honored at Heights civic’s annual shindig

All smiles: Longtime activist Irene Janner accepts her community service award at the Brooklyn Heights Association’s annual meeting on Feb. 27.
Brooklyn Paper
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Three cheers for Brooklyn Bridge Park activists!

The controversial waterfront greenspace was the focus of the Brooklyn Heights Association’s annual meeting on Monday, where the venerable civic group honored locals who have fought to create the green space, save its beloved public pool, and to keep more private development out.

First, the group cheered the team fighting the construction of two new towers at Pier 6 by offering up their gratis legal and financial expertise.

“The BHA is extremely fortunate to have these resources available to defend the principle that the park was created for recreational purposes, not a front yard for excessive development,” said emcee Tom Stewart, a Heights resident and Channel 13 host who cheekily started the award ceremony by announcing the honor had actually gone to “La La Land.”

The association presented a plaque to activists Ren Richmond of People for Green Space, Judi Francis of the Brooklyn Bridge Defense Fund, and law firm Jenner and Block, which is providing $800,000 worth of services for zilch.

The team’s local legal eagle said he wasn’t expecting an award for his efforts — but he’ll take it!

“It’s a delightful honor, it’s wholly unnecessary because I have such a pleasure in this opportunity to help the community in which I’ve lived for 40 years … the honor is just icing on the cake,” said attorney Richard Ziegler.

The group also bestowed two other community service awards on longtime community activist Irene Janner, who helped lead the fight to create Brooklyn Bridge Park in the ’80s, and Love Our Pool, a group of parents who successfully banded together to save its beloved pop-up pool last year.

And the highest honor of the evening — the Martha Atwater Award — went to PS 8’s retiring principal Seth Phillips for his work turning what was a struggling elementary school into a high-achieving educational institution that is so popular it is turning students away.

“Seth turned PS 8 around by rebuilding it from the ground up,” said Stewart.

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at lgill@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Robert Perris from Community Board 2 says:
The civic contributions of Irene Janner, 1st Vice Chairperson of Community Board 2, are innumerable. The community board and I congratulate Irene on her recognition by the Brooklyn Heights Association, where she served on the board of governors.
March 1, 2017, 10:12 am
Marsha Rimler from Brooklyn Heights says:
Irene Janner voted at CB2 to destroy the Brooklyn Heights Library. She needs to be held accountable for that vote
March 2, 2017, 5:58 pm
Honey Baby says:
Marsha is right - Irene was just using this as a smoke-screen for her other activities. She feels pretty smug thinking "Oh, I've fooled everyone. I'm so very clever". Newsflash, she isn't!
March 3, 2017, 8:31 am
bklyn20 from Brooklyn says:
Finally the people of the BHA have seen the light -- the park doesn't more revenue, it needs more open space. More high rises (affordable or not) in Brooklyn Bridge Park will create yet another section of walled city when there already is massive building from downtown Brooklyn to the river.

Speaking of that river, remember how all the hard surfaces in BBP created a flood when Sandy paid a visit ? (The park is in a flood plain, you know.) If 1BBP had had less hardscape - and more landscape - people living in the building wouldn't have had to live without a shower for 2 weeks. I believe they moved the mechanicals to the roof, so that won't happen again.

Leave some green to absorb storm waters and some room for people to relax. A real park isn't affordable - it's priceless.
March 3, 2017, 10:43 pm

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