Today’s news:

Parkside plaza a possibility, if neighbors will fund maintenance

The Brooklyn Paper

The city has finally agreed to build a plaza outside the Parkside Avenue Q station — but the neighborhood activists who have long fought for the public space will be the ones footing the bill.

The Department of Transportation said it would construct a scaled back version of the grand plaza plan proposed by the Parkside Project Committee for the intersection of Ocean and Parkside avenues, provided the group can come up with the cash to keep it clean.

“It’s very good news,” said Rudolph Delson, a founder of the committee, which has lobbied city officials and agencies since 2011 to improve features around the southeast gateway to Prospect Park, particularly on the large paved expanse directly in front of the subway station. “But the good news is tempered by fact that we have to find the funding for a budget to maintain it.”

The Department of Transportation typically tasks neighborhood merchants groups including business improvement districts to look after newly constructed plazas, but there are no deep-pocketed organizations in the area, Delson said.

“Places like Bryant Park in Manhattan have no trouble raising that kind of money,” said Delson, who estimates it would cost about $25,000 to keep the plaza — which would include benches, tables, and chairs — clean and secure.

Open space activists hope to line up some neighboring businesses and community politicians to raise capital for upkeep, including Councilman Mathieu Eugene (D–Flatbush).

“The Councilman is supportive of the project,” said Michael Racioppo, Eugene’s chief of staff. “But we don’t know [our] budget yet.”

Supporters of the plan hope the plaza will win fans in the community, because unlike a recently scrapped proposal in Midwood, this one won’t take away any street space from motorists.

“The proposal would have no impact on the roadway or traffic patterns and would make use of in-house materials,” said Department of Transportation spokeswoman Nicholas Mosquera.

Reach reporter Eli Rosenberg at erosenberg@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2531. And follow him at twitter.com/emrosenberg.

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Reader Feedback

Bob Scott from Brooklyn says:
Curious how the city has endless funds [hundreds of millions? who knows— the city's never said] for plazas [and neckdowns] in places where neighbors don't want them. Here, where it's wanted, the city won't pay.
Jan. 21, 2013, 8:09 am
ty from pps says:
Hey Bob,
Where are all of these plazas where "neighbors don't want them"?????????
Jan. 21, 2013, 12:14 pm
Bob Scott from Brooklyn says:
All over Brooklyn. Mostly, no one cares one way or another. Either way, it's a massive unnecessary expenditure of money.
Jan. 21, 2013, 2:06 pm
Crawford from Bay Ridge says:
Bob, where is there a "massive unnecessary expenditure of money"?

The city's public plaza program costs almost nothing. They spend like 1% of the DOT budget on public spaces and greenstreets.
Jan. 21, 2013, 2:14 pm
mike from GP says:
Echoing other commenters -- yes, the plaza program costs sooooo little compared to the vast majority of DOT spending - maintaining roads. I'm so tired of a few people whining about the City finally offering a few crumbs to pedestrians instead of catering to motorists.

It's too bad that the maintenance is left up to BIDs. But then again, these plazas (and bike lanes) boost local business, so I suppose it works out in the end.
Jan. 21, 2013, 2:50 pm
JC Martinez-Sifre from Kensington says:
We've been bootstrapping a fairly united and diverse group of stewards since June 2012 over at Kensington Plaza, Church/McDonald Ave and Beverly Rd with a small grant from the Citizens Committee. Most of it has been just elbow grease and dedication rather than money, so it's do-able. Check it out: http//bit.ly/KensingtonPlaza
Jan. 22, 2013, 4:38 pm

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