With the passing of the ten-year anniversary of the creation of Downtown Brooklyn as its own district, the mayor announced an extensive plan for projects and initiatives that will continue the growth of what has become the whirring hub of Brooklyn.
The projects include opening new parks and improving existing ones, reorganizing city-owned buildings so the ground floors can be used for retail, redesigning streets to better accommodate pedestrians and bikers, launching the Brooklyn Cultural District BID and launching a college consortium that will connect all of Brooklyn’s 11 colleges.
“We have an incredible opportunity to take these stunning communities, parks and institutions and knit them together,” de Blasio said. “The investments we are making will help Downtown Brooklyn continue its rise, generate good jobs, and make this a more dynamic neighborhood to live and work.”
One major way he hopes to knit the community together is by reinventing the “Brooklyn Strand,” the 21-acres of parks, plazas and gateways that connects Borough Hall and Brooklyn Bridge Park. The city and Downtown Brooklyn Partnership are developing improvements to connect the linear parks and make them a seamless connector between the two areas.
“I am excited to see Downtown Brooklyn’s full potential unlocked under this exciting plan, including its unique open space, which will soon connect Brooklyn Borough Hall to our one-of-a-kind waterfront, its outstanding arts community and its innovative institutions of higher education,” Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said.
The city will invest in three parks in the area, both old and new, to revitalize public spaces downtown.
Fox Square, at Flatbush Ave. and Fulton St., is receiving $1.4 million to be repaved and have new landscaping, street furniture and lighting. The project will be completed in early 2015.
A new one-acre public space will also be built at Willoughby Square, which will require that current buildings located there be demolished. The project is expected to be finished in total by the end of 2016.
Finally, BAM Park, which has been closed for decades, will be fixed up and reopened to the public.
Cultural and educational institutions will also see improvements, through the creation of the Brooklyn Cultural District BID and a college consortium. In this way, Brooklyn leaders hope to keep the borough ahead of the game in its technology sector, particularly with the support of the Brooklyn Tech Triangle.
In addition, commercial activity will see a boost when the city redevelops the ground floors of the 1.4 million square feet of commercial space it owns in Downtown Brooklyn in order to house new retail tenants.
Finally, Jay , Tillary, Adams and Willoughby streets will all be overhauled to become more pedestrian and bicycle friendly.
“The experience of the past decade has shown that the more we invest in Brooklyn, the more Brooklyn contributes to the economy and cultural reputation of New York City,” Councilman Robert Cornegy said. “The expanded investments in business attraction, green space, cultural institutions and welcoming streets in Downtown Brooklyn will make our borough’s world class assets more accessible and visually evident to residents and visitors alike.”