The plan, originally announced in late July, focuses on five areas: connectivity, diversification, opportunity, community and culture. The partnership hopes to bring life to these arbitrary terms through projects that residents can actually see.
“The whole reason why I'm here tonight and talking with all of you is to identify shared projects and priorities that we can be working on together,” Reed said.
Board member Nancy Wolf was concerned about the children in the neighborhood. “What are the plans for the new school?” she asked. “Because I know that the nearby schools have had a lot of pressure accommodating students out of district.”
Reed admitted the growing population of Downtown Brooklyn is causing issues with school overcrowding, and said the partnership will help raise the issue as a red flag and try to connect the community board with the Department of Education.
“I'm curious about how you will maintain a partnership with local residents,” said board member Alejandro Varela. “What's that going to look like so that their interests and needs are kept in the conversation?”
Reed responded by saying residents should get involved with the community board, and that anyone with a concern is free to contact his office.
“One person won't make as much noise as 250 people,” Reed said.
One issue that was important to the community board was that of tourism dollars and how poor conditions are turning them away.
Board member Leonard Jordan voiced his concern regarding various subway platforms and the fact that tourists are leaving Brooklyn immediately after seeing the disheveled stops. Jordan is worried that tourists will get a bad taste in their mouths, get the wrong first impression of Brooklyn, and spend their money in Manhattan.
With regard to the issue of tourists leaving Brooklyn, Reed wants their first impression of the borough to be with their cell phones, not the subway station. He said that the partnership is working to create mobile apps which will give users a guide of where to shop and eat in the Downtown Brooklyn area. For those without a smart phone, a phone booth might just do the trick.
“The city is also looking into repurposing old phone booths throughout the city,” Reed said. “There will be a screen up on the side of the phone booth and you'll be able to access the same applications.”
When Reed discussed new job growth and business that want to expand in the area, he also brought up the lack of housing.
“The two main things on the tip of my lips these days are student housing and affordable housing,” he said. “You'd be crazy to create a build a project down here without either those.”