City’s failed housing and park promises anger north Brooklyn residents

June 14, 2012 05:30PM

In exchange for their blessing to revise Williamsburg and Greenpoint zoning laws to encourage new luxury apartment developments in 2005, they city promised community leaders that public parks and 3,500 of units of affordable housing would be built. Seven years later the city is struggling to keep up its end of the bargain, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Some 800 affordable units have been developed and another 330 are scheduled for construction. But only 18 months remain in Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s term and residents concerned with the effects of gentrification feel that time is running out for the city to deliver on its promises.

“They made these commitments, and as a result we rezoned the last large swath of industrial waterfront,” City Council member Stephen Levin said. “The community wants to know and I want to know, ‘What’s the plan?'”

The city argues that it spends more on parks in that neighborhood, $315 million, than it does anywhere else. Ironically, the Journal noted, that’s because the same luxury apartment buildings the city encouraged through the rezoning are now raising real estate prices and preventing the government from fulfilling its promises by making land acquisitions more costly.

Still, residents of those buildings are angry, too. “That [new parks] was a big selling point […] I still hear brokers walking around, and you’ll hear them say, ‘And this is going to be a park,'” said Alexandra Broenniman, a local mother of two. [WSJ]