GWAPP Newsletter: 2002, volume 1

Dear GWAPP Members, friends and neighbors,
As our activities grow each day, we wanted you to know what we have been doing to help promote the positive transformation of our waterfront and to assist our community in general. Therefore, we have decided to start a monthly eNewsletter to keep you up-to-date on all our latest activities. We hope that you will find the information useful to track what is happening on matters important to our community. Feel free to send us any comments or questions.

GENERAL NEWS:

The fight against the proposed 1,100mw power plant on north 12th street continues
The Public Service Commission is holding another public process forum this Monday night, March 18th, at 6:30pm at JHS 50, 183 South 3rd Street. The Greenpoint/Williamsburg Waterfront Task Force (Task Force), of which GWAPP is a member, has been working tirelessly on this battle on a daily basis.

The Borough President is coming to Greenpoint this Tuesday night!
GWAPP member organization the Greenpoint Civic Council is has invited Borough President Marty Markowitz to their meeting this Tuesday night, March 19th. Please come to the basement of the Greenpoint Savings Bank at 7:00pm to discuss the needs of our neighborhood.

MANY MANY THANKS to Senator Martin Connor and Assemblyman Joe Lentol for wrangling a $10,000 grant for GWAPP out of the state budget.
The money is sorely needed to continue our work.

MANY MANY THANKS to Councilman David Yassky
For wrangling $20,000 out of the city budget for the power plant fight! Councilman Yassky has secured $20,000 for the Task Force to help us stop the TGE power plant. This money will be processed through NAG’s 501c3.

Opposition to the demolition of the Greenpoint Incinerator continues:
GWAPP Board Member Mike Hofmann and GWAPP member organization Barge Park Pals have been heading up the effort to force the Department of Sanitation to take the proper measures to test the incinerator for dioxins and other toxic substances that could be released into the air during its demolition and to require them to take appropriate measures. To date, demolition of the stacks is already at 50% and no testing has been done for dioxins and similar contaminants. The GWAPP Board has decided to fund private testing of the facility on behalf of the community and will be working with Councilman Yassky to secure access to the site and permission for this testing.

Check out OUR NEW AND IMPROVED WEB SITE
Many thanks to GWAPP Board member Barbara McGlamery and the folks at Blenderbox, (builders of the Billburg website).

Our 501c3 application is on its way to the IRS!!!!
Thanks to our attorney John Kaufmann and his firm Linklaters and Alliance for their continued pro bono legal services for GWAPP.

MEETINGS

3/15/02 CELEBRATING THE NEW CITY COUNCIL WATERFRONT COMMITTEE
GWAPP co-chair Joe Vance attended a luncheon at the River Cafe celebrating the new New York City Council Waterfront Committee, chaired by our City Councilman David Yassky. The event, sponsored by the Brooklyn Bridge Park Coalition, was attended by waterfront organizations from throughout the city as well as members of the city council, elected officials and city agencies.

3/14/02 RECEPTION HONORING NEW CITY PLANNING COMMISSION CHAIR BURDEN
GWAPP Board Members Julie Lawrence and Joe Vance attended a private reception honoring the new chair of the New York City Planning Commission, Amanda Burden. Chairman Burden was quite supportive of our 197a plan as a commissioner, we are quite excited about working with her during the coming years that will transform our Greenpoint waterfront.

3/14/02 TRANSGAS ENERGY OPEN HOUSE
Members of the Task Force attended another open house by the developer of the proposed North 12th Street power plant.

3/2/02 TASK FORCE POWER PLANT BENEFIT CONCERT
Patti Smith, Greenpoint Resident Hugh Pool, Vic Thrill and Hammill on Trial played in this SOLD OUT event to help fund our fight to stop the proposed 1,000 megawatt power plant on the Bushwick Creek Inlet at North 12th Street. 1,000 tickets were sold at $20 per and 50 sold at $100 per. This money will go toward our legal bills with PACE and expenses incurred to date for printing, posters, etc. for the several public meetings held regarding this power plant. The Greenpoint/Williamsburg Waterfront Task Force, (of which GWAPP is a member), founded to fight this power plant put on the event. Many community members worked long and hard on this…. The community can not adequately thank Aggie Mullaney-Strauss and Janie Pool for their TIRELESS work to make this happen. GWAPP member organization The Polish National Home and GWAPP Board Members Mark and Anton Chroscielewski made the venue and technical backup for the event possible. The space here is far too small to thank everyone- please look for more complete articles in the local newspapers…

2/27/02 TASK FORCE MEETING WITH GOVERNORS STAFF
The Task Force, including GWAPP board members Adam Perlmutter, Christine Holowacz and Joe Vance, those representing GWAPP member organizations, Peter Gillespie (NAG) Barbara Vetell (Greenpoint/West Street Block Association), Vincent Abate and Gerald Esposito from Community Board 1, Senator Connor’s office, Councilman Yassky’s office, and other community members, met with members of Governor Pataki’s staff in their Manhattan office. The purpose of the meeting was a follow-up to the Governor’s visit to Greenpoint on February 10th to brief the staff on our neighborhoods opposition to the power plant. The Governor’s people were VERY impressed and said they had never seen such professional information from a community group before. We know the Governor cannot come out publicly against the plant, however the Task Force formally asked for (4) things:

  1. That the Governor adopt the NYC 1999 waterfront revitalization plan as the State Coastal Zone Management Plan, (This should have been done years ago- it has been stuck in Albany and is *VERY* important to the power plant fight)
  2. That the Governor allow Lentol, Connor and Lopez to recommend the (2) “local” members of the Siting Board that will decide on the power plant. The law requires one from Kings County, the other from our Judicial district.
  3. That the Governor arrange for us to make our presentation to each of the 5 members of the permanent siting board
  4. That the Governor urge the PSC to do a preemptive Land Use review of the project that- if found to not conform- would end the project prior to the full hearings.

MAJOR hats off to Christine Holowacz, GWAPP Board Member and President of GWAPP member organization Greenpoint Property Owners for scheduling the meeting, and to Adam Perlmutter and Gail Vachon for a fantastic presentation.

2/27/02 FAREWELL TO PARKS COMMISSIONER STERN
GWAPP co-chair Joe Vance attended the farewell event for outgoing Parks Commissioner Henry Stern after more than 16 years of service in that position. Joe was able to speak with new Parks Commissioner Benepe and reviewed the GWAPP map depicting the status of waterfront development projects in our community. Commissioner Benepe asked to keep the map and said he looked forward to a formal meeting with GWAPP regarding open space and parks projects.

2/19/02 MEETING WITH CONGRESSWOMAN VELAZQUEZ REGARDING MONITOR MUSEUM AND PARK
GWAPP Board Members Christine Holowacz and Adam Perlmutter, along with Pat Ferris, Irene Klementowicz and Bill and Marie Chambers attended a meeting with Congresswoman Velazquez to discuss the current status of GWAPP’s request from last Fall for the creation of a National Park to commemorate the site of the construction and launching of the Civil War ironclad Monitor. The GWAPP Board prepared a formal proposal for a federal appropriation to form an advisory committee consisting of representatives from the community, the National Park Service, the National Archives, the Brooklyn Historical Society and others to move this important project into the planning stage. We will be posting updates on this project as they develop.

2/13/02 GWAPP QUARTERLY MEMBERSHIP MEETING
The membership meeting for the first quarter of 2002 was held at the Polish National Home on February 13th. GWAPP Board members reported about the current status of waterfront projects, the TransGas Energy fight and approved the GWAPP 501(c) (3) application as well as the organizations’ budget and agenda for the remainder of 2002 and for 2003. We hope to have our tax exempt status yet this year.

2/10/02 GOVERNOR PATAKI VISIT TO GREENPOINT
A *MAJOR* landmark in our continuing battle to halt the proposed power plant project, GWAPP Board Member Christine Holowacz working with the Polish Slavic Center managed to spend some time with Governor Pataki and handed him a briefing book and letter on behalf of GWAPP regarding our opposition to the proposed power plant. Christine, along with GWAPP Board Member Adam Perlmutter, both spoke with the Governor and his staff at length about the project. While the governor is not legally permitted to come out against the project, (The Article X citing law requires due process to all parties), this was a long desired goal to speak with the Governor personally to voice the communities opposition. WAY TO GO CHRISTINE!

2/4/02 NEIGHBORHOOD MEETING WITH COUNCILMAN YASSKY REGARDING GREENPOINT LUMBER EXCHANGE DEVELOPMENT
A number of GWAPP Board Members, GWAPP member organizations and other community members met with Councilman David Yassky regarding a planned residential development for the Greenpoint Lumber Exchange. This meeting was very preliminary, requested by the Councilman to let the community know what he has heard and to get initial feeling from the community on things they might like for that property prior to the Councilman agreeing to any meetings with the developer. Our latest information is that George Klein Realty has gone to contract to purchase the site. GWAPP co-chair Joe Vance pressed the councilman about the need for affordable housing and community benefits if this developer moves forward.

1/30/02 PRESENTATION AT THE URBAN CENTER AT A MUNICIPAL ARTS SOCIETY SEMINAR ON NEIGHBORHOOD PLANNING
GWAPP Board Members Joe Vance and Christine Holowacz were invited to lecture at the MAS “Place Matters” event on how to preserve neighborhood character, and how this was addressed in the Greenpoint 197a plan. Speaking before a full house of near 100 people, Joe and Christine’s presentations were well received. As a result of this event, GWAPP was contacted and interviewed for articles for FLATIRON MAGAZINE and for the online webzine GOTHAM GAZETTE.

End.