Big changes could be coming to a 21-acre swath of unconnected parks, public spaces and plazas running from Borough Hall in Downtown Brooklyn to Brooklyn Bridge Park.
An upcoming public meeting of Community Board 2’s Parks and Recreation Committee will be shining a spotlight on the plan to connect and reinvigorate these public spaces, being dubbed the “Brooklyn Strand.”
The meeting takes place Thursday, November 20, at the Ingersoll Community Center, 177 Myrtle Avenue at Prince Street, and will focus on the work of WXY Studio, the design consultant retained by the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership.
Some of the areas that would be linked by the Strand include Columbus Park, the Korean War Veterans Park, Cadman Plaza Park, Whitman Park, the Brooklyn Bridge Anchorage, Old Fulton Street, John Street Park and Fulton Ferry.
“People should think about how they use these spaces and how they might use them, and come prepared to look at the work so far and provide feedback,” said Robert Perris, district manager of CB2. (Link to the Action Plan follows this story.)
Perris said the goal was to find a way to make the areas “more attractive and unified, to be better utilized and attract more visitors.
“People should come and tell us what they would like to see and how it might function,” Perris added. Nothing is set in stone at this point, he said.
The Oct. 30, 2014 presentation put together by WXY studio says the Brooklyn Strand plan seeks to develop a “unified network to better interconnect Downtown Brooklyn, surrounding neighborhoods, and the waterfront.” Another goal is to make crossings more pedestrian and bike friendly.
The vision includes meeting “the needs and desires of local communities while attracting new visitors and new investment to the area.”
Alexandra Bowie, president of the Brooklyn Heights Association, told the Brooklyn Eagle on Friday, “There’s a lot of possibility here but no specific plan yet. We look forward to seeing it.”
Ideas that have been floated include building outdoor cafes in Cadman Plaza and Korean War Veterans parks, bringing more activities and festivals to local parks; public restrooms at Cadman Plaza West and Tillary Street; and installing a hot air balloon at the entrance to DUMBO near the Brooklyn Bridge.
For pedestrians, enhancements include building a bridge over Adams Street at High Street, improving signage and creating pedestrian connections along Old Fulton Street.
To liven up the walk from the courthouses to DUMBO, one proposal would create a “retail zone” along Cadman Plaza East, and “events” and coffee stands on Jay Street.
The city calls these areas “underutilized and under-programmed.” The plan to transform them as part of a larger “Tech Triangle” proposal. As part of this proposal, more than a million square feet of commercial space surrounding Cadman Plaza — municipal buildings such as the Brooklyn Municipal Building at 210 Joralemon Street, 65 Court Street and the US Post Office and Courthouse at 271 Cadman Plaza East — could be “renovated and repurposed to create a new urban campus for entrepreneurs,” among many other ideas.
Comment from the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership was not available at press time.