Thursday, December 14, 2006

Red Hook Waterfront Fight to Heat Up Today

Red Hook Port Map

The fight over the future of the Red Hook Waterfront and plans to redevelop 1.1 miles of land that could displace the Brooklyn Container Port will heat up today with a rally at City Hall to "Protest a Proposed City Scheme Critics Say Will eliminate Port Jobs and Threaten Economic Security." Whenever opponents call something a "scheme," you know they are not look kindly on a proposal. Participating in the rally are: Rep. Jerrold Nadler, Council Member Michael Nelson (Chair, Committee on Waterfronts), Council Member David Yassky (Chair, Committee on Small Business) and others. The rally is being held before a City Council oversight hearing on the waterfront.

In another development, we've been told that the city's Economic Development Corp. announced last night at a meeting of Community Board Six that it was withdrawing housing plans for Piers 7-12. This will placate some and anger others, underscoring the divisions about how to go forward with waterfront redevelopment in South Brooklyn.

For the average person that has a hard time even getting a handle on the area at issue, it runs from Piers 7-12 in the map above, which is from PortSide New York. (PortSide is a wonderful organization and a good place to find information to help make sense of this sprawling issue. B61 Productions is another good site for trying to figure out the issue.) In any case, the possible redevelopment area is huge, covering more than a mile of waterfront.

An email from the rally organizers says:
Despite recent press focus concerning the strategic importance of our ports, the City and Port Authority are seeking to land-lock metro NYC and ship all of our port activities to New Jersey. Such a policy will have a devastating effect on commerce and will cause New Yorkers’ to pay extra for everyday goods. Needless increases in truck traffic on our city’s bridges will also occur, exasperating air quality and traffic conditions. Additionally, the policy causes the whole of New York City’s import supply chain to rely on a single narrow stretch of water,which is vulnerable to prolonged closure as a result of intentional and unintentional acts. The Port Authority is a bi-state agency that must consider the essential needs of both states; and the City must do its job to secure New York’s shipping connection to the rest of the world and ensure long-term infrastructure plans for the City are faithfully carried through.
The fight has already become nasty at other meetings. (A plan we wrote about yesterday being proposed by New York Water Taxi and developer Douglas Durst would preserve the container port and other working waterfront uses.) One of the key points of contention is the city's plan to acquire the container port land from the Port Authority next year, paving the way for housing and other development. Stay tuned.

(For an update based on Thursday's rally, Council hearing and subsequent coverage, click here.)

Related Posts:

First Blows Landed in Red Hook Port Smackdown
Meet Red Hook Beach & the Brooklyn Maritime Center
Red Hook Will Be Prime Competitor in 2007 Brooklyn Development Slugfest

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