Community Board 16, which represents Brownsville, held its monthly meeting at 444 Thomas Boyland Street on Tuesday May 23.
The night began with Deputy Inspector Rafael Mascol of the 73rd Precinct who gave a report on crime statistics in the neighborhood. Resident Cleopatra Brown asked Mascol about obtaining incident reports after being unable to obtain one from the 73rd precinct. “It shouldn’t have to take a 311 call to be able to obtain an incident report,” Brown said.
Mascol assured her that she should’ve been able to obtain the incident report. “Any precinct is able to print out an incident report for you as long as you were involved in it,” Mascol said.
The exchange also led to the topic of Uber drivers being harassed by undercover cops in Brownsville and East New York. “This is my first time hearing about this,” Mascol said, before asking the crowd if they had heard about this problem.
Next came Michael Sandler presenting the Brownsville Neighborhood Plan. Sandler said the plan for the neighborhood would be released on June 1, with an event on the same day at P.S./I.S. 323’s Gymnasium. The plan included many public workshops and they spoke to 500 Brownsville residents.
The plan includes converting six vacant sites in the neighborhood to include affordable housing, a rec center, and 100,000 square feet of retail. All the sites will have different themes, the area by Rockaway Avenue will have arts and culture, Broadway Avenue will promote retail, the Christopher Street site will be innovation and entrepreneurship and include a business incubator. Also, the Livonia site will be healthy living, and will have access to healthy food.
“The plan will set the framework for coordinating the investment of city agencies to ensure that the different agencies are achieving common goals through their projects,” said Sandler. “All told, there’s about $150 million worth of city investment represented in this plan.”
Residents were concerned about the issues of affordable housing, to which Sandler answered that the affordable housing would be available to those that meet the threshold, but added, the plan will include 150 new affordable homes, co-ops, condominiums, and single family homes, which will be restricted to be affordable. The full plan will be released on June 1.
A new resolution was also passed that will establish workgroups among Brooklyn community districts. It will include a 12-person committee made up of the chairpersons. It allows for a more collaborative working style.
Christopher Durosinmi, a representative for Pre-K for all, urged resident to signup children born in 2014 for the program. It is the first nationwide initiative to give children 3 and up Pre-K care. He told them that the rollout is being finalized and they’re currently expanding teacher recruitment. He also assured residents that it will be open to residents of homeless shelters. The program will begin in September.
Plans for the remodeling of the Callahan Kelly Playground and Betsy Head Park. The schematic for Callahan Kelly playground was allocated $18.1 million for the project. It will also include a complete change to the look of the park, with new entrances, the incorporation of a Greenstreet across Eastern Parkway and the closing of the portion of Sackman Street that runs through the park.
Betsy Head Park was given $30 million for the first phase of the remodeling. It will also include improved the city’s first parkour course, improved lighting.
Martin Maher, the Borough Commissioner, joked about the domino tables that will be included: “Four seats on the domino tables, two for the guys playing and two for the guys cursing on the side,” Maher said, which made the whole room laugh.
A resident asked Maher about minority representation in the building process. Maher said that the companies would need to become part of Vendex, so that they could be considered for projects in New York City.
The committee reports included more information about the other meetings throughout the month.
- A resolution was passed allowing two new LinkNYC kiosks on 2440 Fulton Street and 241 Sackman Street.
- A new bill was passed which raises the penalties for increasing the capacity of a residential space.
- Confusion occurred when the report for Public Safety Committee was given by Margaret Brewer, and they weren’t able to determine what the new guidelines about noise complaints determined when the city requires someone to get a permit.
Community Board 16 meets the fourth Tuesday of each month at 7:00pm. The next planned meeting before the summer break will be on Wednesday, June 28.