The project was started in February in collaboration with Design NYC to improve the parks, roads and overall image between Flatbush and Classon Avenues.
The meeting last Thursday night at Balli Osteria, an Italian cuisine restaurant and newest addition to the neighborhood at 860 Fulton St., was the first time the neighborhood got to see their ideas incorporated into the plan since the initial public brainstorm back in June at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
Phillip Kellogg, FAB Alliance manager, is confident the project is being put together the right way, reaching out to the people who live in the neighborhood for feedback.
“We chose the name ‘vision plan’ intentionally,” Kellogg said. “Sometimes they will use the words ‘master plan’, but this is not a master plan because it is really about concepts and ideas.”
Along with the two meetings, residents also had a chance last weekend at Fowler Square and Putnam Triangle Plaza to see the current design and add further insight. Kellogg also encouraged community members to visit the FAB Alliance website (faballiance.org) for suggestion forms and to keep up with the latest progress.
“We’re looking at projects that can be implemented quickly, and laying the groundwork for some of the bigger ideas may take years of planning and fundraising to become realized,” he said.
Although some residents were skeptical that the project might not be effective or optimally planned, Kellogg assured the room of concerned residents that his organization has already begun to affect the neighborhood in a positive way.
“The vacancy rate on Fulton Street, the three years the FAB Alliance BID has been operational, has dropped by 54 percent,” he said. “I think that will change probably by January with more businesses slated to be open, and we are excited about that.”
Matthias Altwicker of AB Architekten and Collin Brice of MAPOS LLC, architects who have been working with the community on the current design, have been told by the community to focus on the wide range of diversity Fulton Street has to offer.
“It was really about having three very different parts of Fulton Street, as opposed to making it all the same,” Altwicker said.
The area closest to downtown Brooklyn, near Flatbush Avenue, is expected to be focused on the urban feel of the neighborhood, while areas father away near Clinton Hill will be smaller-scale development projects.
Brice explained that they are “looking at more art-scapes toward the city, and the middle is a mix between playgrounds and market space.”
Empty lots are being viewed as possible space for retail, cultural activities and for neighborhood events; while triangle parks along either side of Fulton Street will open up the possibilities for future art programs, farmers markets and recreational activities.
Additionally, the plan is expected to put emphasis on repairing old sidewalks, solving long-time traffic pattern obscurities, and fixing drainage issues.
“This wasn’t just us sitting in our offices designing stuff,” Brice stressed. “The primary part of this entire process was creating this really interactive meeting over the summer where we invited a bunch of people around the community and developed tools, games, sketches and things where the community was really involved.”
Lisa Akers, Clinton Hill native and one of the community members at the first Fulton Street Vision Plan meeting, doesn’t necessarily think the neighborhood is in desperate need of repair, however she is of the mindset that certain areas could use improvement.
She and her mother, Laura Akers, suggested the area could use some sprucing up with new artwork and even suggested converting a church parking lot into a farmers market or public garden, assuming the church grants permission to the committee.
“I was skeptical at first, but a lot of our ideas have been put into the plan and now we get to see them come into fruition,” Akers said.