Friday, June 09, 2006

Gowanus Whole Foods Environmental Update: Yummy

Why Whole Foods Won't Be Opening Soon, Part IILeave it to the long-awaited Gowanus Whole Foods on Third Street and Third Avenue in Gowanus to be one of the only supermarkets in the country that sells customers on wholesome goodness while having an environmental remediation plan. Friends and Residents of Greater Gowanus (FROGG) conveyed some interesting information in comments left on the blog Brooklyn Ramblings, which itself is digging into the state of the Whole Foods site. According to FROGG, the Whole Foods site is in the "investigation" phase of the State Brownfield Cleanup Program. The "Remedial Work Plan" for doing the cleanup hasn't been approved by the Department of Environmental Conservation. A "fact sheet" announcing the plan is due in July. Not that this has stopped work on the site from going forward under an "interim" plan. Meanwhile, community representatives were promised during the winter that they would get information on the extent of contamination. Nothing has been forthcoming.

FROGG points out that because of the zoning for the site, the level of cleanup will be less than, say, what would be required for other types of construction like housing. Even though a food market is going on the site. Nor will ongoing groundwater contamination issues be addressed in a cleanup.

Up to 25 percent of the development cost on so-called brownfield sites, including the cleanup, is publicly subsidized. In other words: Take ownership of the new Whole Foods because you will, at least in a philosophical sense, own a slice of the cleaned up pie. Other Gowanus developments on brownfield sites like Gowanus Village will also qualify for the subsidies.


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