While there are no specific plans for the plaza in place yet, Community Board 1's Transportation Committee was notified on Tuesday, October 16, that a proposal was going to be put forward by the Department of Transportation.
This plaza would extend and eliminate the street, which currently runs through McCarren Park.
The idea of de-mapping Union Avenue came from the 2005 rezoning of the area. After the rezoning, the city funded a study which focused on the streets around McCarren Park in an attempt to find one which would be most beneficial to eliminate.
The Open Space Alliance (OSA) has so far funded roughly $40,000 in fees for a variety of environmental studies related to the plaza. If approved, OSA will receive money from the capital budget in order to fund the creation of the plaza.
The Parks Department would be responsible for cleaning and maintaining the plaza.
While the process is currently in its final stages of review by city agencies, the proposal still needs to be reviewed by Community Board 1, the Brooklyn Borough President's Office, the City Planning Commission and City Council. The process itself takes roughly seven months.
DOT will first have to receive approval before it can begin planning the plaza. The agency would involve the community in the process, gathering input and ideas and community meetings
Kurt Cavanaugh assistant director of Open Space Alliance, gave a presentation on the proposal at a Community Board 1 committee meeting last week.
“We see this as monumentally important,” he said. “It will add 34,000 square feet of parkland to the district.”
With Assemblyman Joseph Lentol and Councilman Stephen Levin already behind the project, Cavanaugh hopes community members will line up too.
One resident of Greenpoint, who asked not to be identified because of his comments, said that he was nervous about extending the park and eliminating a section of Union Avenue.
“There are more homeless people moving in,” he said, which he believes is from a lack of lighting in the area. He said police need to make the park safer. “McCaren Park gets a little sketchy at night.”
An issue that was brought up more than once at the meeting was the fear that the greenmarket, which operates on Saturdays along the same stretch of Union Avenue, will be eliminated. Jessica Douglas, Regional Greenmarket Coordinator for Brooklyn, asked the community board to, “incorporate the greenmarket.”
“We want the Greenmarket to be happy,” assured Cavanaugh. “Their home is McCarren Park. The space itself we want de-mapped, and we don’t want that shut out from the greenmarket.”
Guy Sands, a Greenpoint resident and former employee with Urban Rustic, located on the corner of North 12th Street and Union Avenue, is familiar with the area.
“I think it’s great because it gives the community more park,” he said.