Friday, February 27, 2009

The Atlantic Basin letter

In a recent post, I mentioned a letter that is circulating throughout the community which will be sent to various public officials regarding the Atlantic Basin. That letter, as well as the description and instructions that pertain to it, are now below. I urge everyone to read this carefully and, if you agree, please follow the instructions to add yourself to the list of supporters before March 2nd (this Monday).
Dear Neighbor,

The Pier 7/Atlantic Basin discussion originally scheduled for the February 23rd CB6 committee meeting at PS15 has now been rescheduled for March 16 at the request of both the Port Authority and the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC). Please put March 16 on your calendar. When the details of the location and time are made available we'll send out an email with that information.

Meanwhile we are urgently working to communicate--to our representatives, elected officials, press, etc.--our concerns about NYCEDC's approach to the process of leasing Pier 11 on the Atlantic Basin.

Embedded below you will find the text of a letter that will be sent out to the officials listed therein. Please take a moment to read the letter. If you'd like to have your name or business name added to the bottom of the letter, please SEND AN EMAIL <<>> by March 2, and type--in the subject line--your full name or business name followed by the words, "Add Me." Additionally, if you'd like further information or have any questions, comments or suggestions, let us know by using the same email link above.

Thank you for your interest. Together, we can and will demand a voice in whatever large-scale large-impact plans are proposed for Red Hook.

P.S. Click on the following link to see a map of the Brooklyn waterfront from Atlantic Basin to Atlantic Avenue:


Christopher Ward, Executive Director, Port Authority of NY/NJ
Seth W. Pinsky, President, NYC Economic Development Corporation
Michael Bloomberg, Mayor City of New York
Amanda Burden, Director, NYC Department of City Planning
Robert Walsh, Commissioner NYC Department Small Business Services
Sarah M. Gonzalez, NYC Council Member
David Yassky, NYC Council Member
Marty Markowitz, Brooklyn Borough President
Charles E. Schumer, US Senator
Kirsten E. Gillibrand, US Senator
Nydia M. Velazquez, US Congresswoman
Jerrold Nadler, US Congressman
Velmanette Montgomery, NYS Senator
Felix Ortiz, NYS Assemblyman
Joan Millman, NYS Assemblywoman
Brian McCormick, Meg Fellerath and Milton Puryear, Co-founders Brooklyn Greenway Initiative
David Reiss, Co-Chair Economic Development Committee, Brooklyn CB6
Jeff Strabone, Co-Chair Economic Development Committee, Brooklyn CB6
Greg O'Connell, Chair Waterfront Development Committee, Brooklyn CB6
Brad Lander, Chair Community Housing and Development Committee, Brooklyn CB6
Craig Hammerman, District Manager Brooklyn CB6

March 2, 2009

We, the residents, families, workers, property owners, business owners and patrons of Red Hook, Brooklyn are asking for a better outcome concerning the development of our unique and historic neighborhood waterfront.

The issue at hand is the use of Pier 11 in the Atlantic Basin, whose 17 acres of protected water lie a few short blocks west of Van Brunt Street, roughly between Pioneer and Bowne Streets. We support development around the Atlantic Basin that maximizes the potential of the working waterfront and creates new economic opportunity for the small businesses that are proliferating throughout our neighborhood. We also seek development that will strengthen the connections between the waterfront, the local community and the adjoining neighborhoods, while also reinforcing Red Hook's unique maritime identity.

Late last year the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) announced that Pier 11 would be leased to Phoenix Beverage, a beer distributor whose operations would be relocated to the Brooklyn waterfront from Queens. Community members expressed their opposition, insisting that Phoenix would make more sense at the foot of Atlantic Avenue on Pier 7—a much more appropriate location with better access to the BQE, less impact on residential populations, and the added benefits of putting to use an underutilized pier and giving more work to the stevedores.

With Phoenix at Pier 7, the entire Atlantic Basin, the harbor within, and Pier 11 could be fully activated by uses specifically suited to the protected basin area, which is unique on the Brooklyn waterfront. NYCEDC has reviewed proposals for ferry expansion, boat repair, a marina, much more open space and public waterfront access, as well as space for maritime cultural and community based activities. This kind of plan would have a great positive impact on the small businesses and micro-entrepreneurial ventures upland of the Atlantic Basin and would create working waterfront activity that responds to the needs of New York's under-served maritime community.

Unfortunately, NYCEDC is now suggesting that it would grant Phoenix Beverage a 20-year lease at Pier 11 regardless of the disposition of Pier 7. This move comes as a surprise to Red Hookers, who have been led to believe that NYCEDC and the Port Authority would be open to working out a solution that benefits both Phoenix and the local community.

We urge you to work for an outcome that puts Phoenix Beverage solely on Pier 7 and secures the possibility of exciting new jobs and opportunities in and around the Atlantic Basin. Red Hook is prepared to work with you to create a better future for the Atlantic Basin and for the entire neighborhood.

[insert list of local supporters]

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