Will Gowanus Canal cleanup spur development?

July 16, 2012 12:00PM

Even though city, state and federal clean-up work has begun on the Gowanus Canal, a group of Gowanus residents has decided to take matters into their own hands. These residents run a variety of tasks, including fly-over photography of the canal to create maps for analyzing street run-offs during rain storms, composting and replanting gardens that have been damaged in part by oil from the neighborhood’s industrial sites, the New York Times reported.

The neighborhood — which connects the pricey residential communities of Park Slope and Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn — was to have been home to a Toll Brothers development. But the team walked away when the area got designated a superfund site. They it didn’t make financial sense for them to close on the lots and have to wait 15 to 20 years for development to begin. Previous reports also indicated that once the city, state and federal clean-up reaches completion decades down the line, the neighborhood could have an additional 1,500 to 2,000 residential units, priming Gowanus for a residential rebirth.

Newtown Creek in Brooklyn is the city’s other “superfund” site, designated for cleanup by the Environmental Protection Agency. [NYT]