GWAPP Newsletter: 2003, 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:

GWAPP AND THE TRUST FOR PUBLIC LAND BEGIN OPEN SPACE INITIATIVE FOR GREENPOINT/WILLIAMSBURG:
AT LONG LAST!After nearly 18 months of discussions and planning, GWAPP has begun an Initiative to plan and promote new open space and parks for Greenpoint and Williamsburg. GWAPP had put together $35,000.00 in funding from Assemblymen Lentol and Lopez, State Senator Marty Connor, and Councilman David Yassky to begin this study. Hearing us discuss it, the Trust for Public Land, (TPL), asked to get involved as well. TPL secured a *$100,000.00* grant to add to GWAPP’s funding. This enabled us to hire more professionals and will result in a much more thorough study. The goal of this study and advocacy effort is to generate the information, insight, creativity and visual representations needed to promote and provide meaningful open space and park amenities along Greenpoint/Williamsburg’s East River coastline in conjunction with the rezoning of the waterfront by the Department of City Planning and its anticipated development by private developers. GWAPP and TPL will be assisted by an expert team of planning and design consultants. Phillips Preiss Shapiro Associates (PPSA) will serve as lead project planners along with Fox and Fowle Architects (F&F) as the project urban designer and RG Roesch (RGR) as the project landscape architect. PPSA will function as the project director, supervising the other two firms in close communication with TPL and GWAPP. GWAPP, TPL and the Initiative consultants will be working with the Community Board #1 Rezoning Task Force, the Department of City Planning, community groups, our elected officials and waterfront property owners throughout the study. It is our great hope that along with the rejuvenation of our waterfront and new affordable housing will come new parks so that Community Board #1 will no longer be near the bottom of the list of open space per capita in New York City.

THE FIGHT AGAINST THE PROPOSED 1,100MW POWER PLANT ON NORTH 12TH STREET CONTINUES:
The Greenpoint/Williamsburg Waterfront Task Force, of which GWAPP is a founding member, continues the fight the power plant proposed by TransGas Energy Systems (TGE). While the powerplant is still an active threat, there have been several items of good news so far this year. On May 15th, a project to bring 2,000 megawatts of electricity into NYC via a transmission line from upstate was approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. While this still requires PSC approval, it would reduce the need for new powerplants within the city. On May 12th, 2003, the Bloomberg Administration issued a statement OPPOSING the proposed TGE project. In December of 2002, TGE formally submitted their application for the project to the Public Service Commission, (PSC). A few months ago, the application was rejected as incomplete. TGE has since submitted supplementary information which is still being reviewed by the PSC. While all of this information makes it seem less likely the TGE project will win approval, it is likely the developer will proceed with the full Article X review anyway. Unfortunately, this means the community cannot rest, and the Task Force and our legal counsel, Pace, may still have quite a bit of work to do. For the community, this means we will need large turnouts when hearings are held, and a GREAT DEAL of financial support to pay the mounting legal costs.

MAJOR REZONING OF THE GREENPOINT/WILLIAMSBURG WATERFRONT AND INLAND WILLIAMSBURG AREAS IN PROGRESS:
A major rezoning of Greenpoint and Williamsburg by the NYC Department of City Planning is in progress. This rezoning will change our 1.6 mile waterfront from manufacturing to residential. As well, a large section of the Northside community will be rezoned to allow more residential development, and a section of Greenpoint between West Street and Franklin, from Greenpoint Avenue to Commercial will be rezonined as residential. This rezoning will ultimately provide a 1.6 mile public esplanade along the East River and a new large park on the Northside. GWAPP is heavily involved in working to get the best results for our community from this rezoning. 8 out of our 10 board members are active in the Community Board 1 Rezoning Task Force. The results of GWAPP’s Open Space Initiative will be used as the Parks and Open Space position by the Community Board. We all have significant concens about what the city has proposed so far, and are working diligently to have the plan changed to better benefit our community.

IT’S OFFICIAL! GWAPP OBTAINS 501c3 STATUS:
It was a VERY long and arduous process- but GWAPP has finally obtained 501c3 status from the Internal Revenue Service. Donations to GWAPP are now tax deductible in accordance with the applicable rules and regulations.

KEEP CHECKING OUR WEB SITE

At our web site you can the latest information about the issues facing our neighborhood, learn more about GWAPP, and add your information to receive future emails and mailings from us. (Email is our primary means of disseminating information.

MEETINGS

12/10/03 CB1 REZONING TASK FORCE MEETING
GWAPP board members and several GWAPP organizations are working on the Rezoning Task Force to push for changes to the City’s plan to benefit our community.

12/3/03 CB1 REZONING TASK FORCE MEETING
GWAPP board members and several GWAPP organizations are working on the Rezoning Task Force to push for changes to the City’s plan to benefit our community.

11/18/03 CB1 REZONING TASK FORCE MEETING
GWAPP board members and several GWAPP organizations are working on the Rezoning Task Force to push for changes to the City’s plan to benefit our community.

11/15/03 GWAPP/TPL OPEN SPACE WORKSHOP
Over 60 community residents attended a workshop held by GWAPP and the Trust for Public Land regarding our Open Space Initiative. At this workshop, constultants working for GWAPP and TPL presented some intitial ideas for parks and open space for the community, then broke up into work sessions where community members worked directly with the consultants to explore ideas. The work that came out of this workshop will be integral to the project.

11/13/03 REZONING SCOPING HEARING AT AUTOMOTIVE HIGH SCHOOL
The NYC Department of City Planning held an Environmental Impact Statement Scoping Hearing at Automotive High School. GWAPP board members and several GWAPP organizations gave testimony at the hearing regarding concerns about the proposed rezoning plan.

10/30/03 CB1 REZONING TASK FORCE MEETING
GWAPP board members and several GWAPP organizations are working on the Rezoning Task Force to push for changes to the City’s plan to benefit our community.

10/27/03 RIVERKEEPER EVENT ON NEWTOWN CREEK
GWAPP attended Riverkeeper’s press event and tour of Newtown Creek announcing their intent to bring lawsuits against companies polluting Newtown Creek.

10/20/03 CB1 REZONING TASK FORCE MEETING
GWAPP board members and several GWAPP organizations are working on the Rezoning Task Force to push for changes to the City’s plan to benefit our community.

10/15/03 GWAPP QUARTERLY MEETING

10/14/03 CB1 REZONING TASK FORCE MEETING
GWAPP board members and several GWAPP organizations are working on the Rezoning Task Force to push for changes to the City’s plan to benefit our community.

10/8/03 CB1 REZONING TASK FORCE MEETING
GWAPP board members and several GWAPP organizations are working on the Rezoning Task Force to push for changes to the City’s plan to benefit our community.

9/17/03 MEETING AT PETE MCGUINESS SENIOR CENTER
GWAPP co-chair Joe Vance gave a presentation to local seniors to update them on the TGE Powerplant, rezoning, and GWAPP Open Space Initiative.

7/22/03 GWAPP/TPL MEETING WITH DCP ON OPEN SPACE STUDY
GWAPP and our partner in the Open Space Initiative, the Trust for Public Land, (TPL), along with members of the CB1 Rezoning Task Force Parks and Open Space Subcommittee met with DCP to brief them on some initial ideas from our Initiative.

7/14/03 CB1 REZONING TASK FORCE MEETING
GWAPP board members and several GWAPP organizations are working on the Rezoning Task Force to push for changes to the City’s plan to benefit our community.

7/16/03 HEARING ON PROPOSED TGE POWERPLANT
GWAPP and the other members of the Greenpoint/Williamsburg Waterfront Task Force appeared at the Public Service Commission hearing on the proposed TGE Powerplant. GWAPP helped man tables outside the event passing out literature and information on why this powerplant should not be approved. GWAPP board members and many member organizations gave testimony against the powerplant.

4/24/03 OPEN SPACE INITIATIVE KICK-OFF
On April 24th, GWAPP and The Trust For Public Land, along with the Initiative design team met with the Community Board 1 Rezoning Task Force, elected officials, agency officials, representatives from local community and neighborhood organizations to “launch” the project. Watch our web site for information and documents as the project progresses, and for the date of our upcoming Community Workshop in June/July.

3/27/03 GWAPP QUARTERLY MEMBERSHIP MEETING

10/29/02 GWWTF PRESS CONFERENCE ON THE EAST RIVER
The Greenpoint/Williamsburg Waterfront Task Force held a press conference on the East River- floating in a boat provided by New York Water Taxi in front of a banner erected by the Task Force on the side of the CitiStorage building. The banner read: “Pataki Save This Waterfront”. Brooklyn Borough Assemblyman Joe Lentol, President Marty Markowitz, Councilman David Yassky, Community Board #1 chairman Vincent Abate and several people from the community spoke out against the proposed TGE power plant.

10/24/02 MEETING WITH NEW YORK WATER TAXI
GWAPP Board member Joe Vance met with Tom Fox from New York Water Taxi to discuss the possibility of a new water taxi service in the neighborhood. Various street ends were discussed for a possible floating pier.

10/2/02 GWAPP QUARTERLY MEMBERSHIP MEETING
Our third quarterly membership meeting of the year…

9/18/02 MEETING WITH TRUST FOR PUBLIC LAND
GWAPP Board member Joe Vance met with the New York State Director of the Trust for Public Land to discuss their assistance in the pursuit of securing the Consolidated Freight site for open space; to discuss their assistance in GWAPP’s efforts to analyze and plan open space needs for the community and to discuss sources of funding for both goals.

9/15/02 YMCA STREET FAIR
GWAPP had a table at the Manhattan Avenue Street Fair sponsored by the Greenpoint YMCA. GWAPP Board members Joe Vance and Mike Hoffman, assisted by GWAPP staff Tina Olechowski handed out copies of our June Newsletter and background information about GWAPP. Assisted by Greenpoint/Williamsburg Waterfront Task Force members Karen and Eve, 316 postcards to Governor Pataki opposing the TGE powerplant at North 12th Street were signed.

9/6/02 MEETING WITH AFL/CIO
GWAPP Board members Joe Vance and Adam Perlmutter, along with Peter Gillespie, Lead Organizer for GWAPP member organization NAG (Neighbors Against Garbage), met with a representative of the Housing Investment Trust of the AFL/CIO regarding their program for investing in housing in New York City. The representative explained the program invested in all forms of housing, as long as the construction was performed by Union labor. The terms of the funding *COULD* make it more possible for developers to include affordable housing in their projects due to the potential for reduced funding costs.

8/14/02 and 8/15/02 DEPARTMENT OF CITY PLANNING REZONING FOCUS GROUP MEETINGS
Several GWAPP Board members and GWAPP member organizations participated in two focus group meetings at the invitation of the New York City Department of City Planning, (DCP), regarding the rezoning of the Greenpoint/Williamsburg waterfront. DCP’s presentation included a summary of the recent history and demographic changes in the area, presented maps of the areas to be rezoned, and discussed the process.

8/1/02 MEETING AT ASSEMBLYMAN LENTOL’S OFFICE REGARDING BUSHWICK CREEK INLET
Several GWAPP Board members attended a meeting at Assemblyman Lentol’s office regarding a breakdown in negotiations to purchase the Bushwick Creek Inlet on behalf of the community. The Trust For Public Land had been attempting to purchase the inlet with funds provided by Assemblymen Lentol and Connor, Councilman Yassky and the Governor’s office as well as the Open Space Alliance. It was discussed the situation is likely related to the adjacent TGE powerplant proposal.

7/2/02 NY1 APPEARANCE
GWAPP Board members Joe Vance and Adam Perlmutter appeared in a segment aired on NY1 news regarding the Greenpoint/Williamsburg waterfront and the proposed TGE Powerplant.

7/25 CHURCH CLUSTER SPONSORED MEETING REGARDING AFFORDABLE HOUSING
Several GWAPP Board members and GWAPP member organizations attended a meeting organized by Neal Sheehan and the North Brooklyn Church Cluster regarding the rezoning and the need to push for affordable housing in the rezoning and subsequent development projects. The meeting included several planning educators from Cornell and NYU that will continue to work with the Church Cluster on this effort.

7/2 MEETING REGARDING REZONING WITH COMMUNITY GROUPS…
Several GWAPP Board members and GWAPP member organizations met on the Northside to discuss the upcoming rezoning and how to organize to assist the neighborhood in the process. The need for affordable housing, open space and retaining manufacturing jobs was discussed.

EVERY MONTH!!

Every month several GWAPP board members attend regular meetings on behalf of the community- GWAPP Co-chair Christine Holowacz and board member Mike Hofmann attend the monthly meetings of the Newtown Creek Monitoring Committee, (the community oversite group for the 12 year long, 2.7 billion dollar expansion of the sewage treatment plant); the monthly meetings for the Kosciusko Bridge Replacement Project; and the meetings of the Greenpoint Williamsburg Waterfront Task Force, (fighting the TGE Power Plant). GWAPP Board member Laura Hofmann represents GWAPP at the monthly meetings of the Kosciusko Bricge Rplacement Project meetings; has completed the Parks Dept Tree Seminar Course and so will be able to help Greenpoint with the 2005 Tree Census, has been participating along with GWAPP co-chair Christine Holowacz with the CB1 Environmental Committee on the Solid Waste Issue, is working with www.NYC-rapemap.org and MANY, MANY other meetings and concerns. Mike Hofmann also attends the regular meetings of the “Save the G Train” group, Green Oaks meetings, CB#1 Meetings, and MORE!

GWAPP Member Organizations
Brooklyn Legal Services, Inc. : Brooklyn Lighthouse Community Church : Buckminster Fuller Institute : Choir Angelus : Church of the Ascension : Congregation Ahavas Israel : Dupont Street Senior HDFC : Friends of Newtown CreekBarge Terminal Playground : GCU Lodge #1 : Green Oaks : GreenpointGreen : Greenpoint Ave/West St Block Assoc : Greenpoint Civic Council : Greenpoint Property Owners Assoc. : Greenpoint Reformed Church : Greenpoint Renaissance Society : Greenpoint Video Project : Greenpoint/Williamsburg Youth Soccer League : Ind. Friends of McCarren Park, Inc. : Huron Street Block Association : India Street Block Assoc. : John Smolenski Memorial Dem Club : Neighbors Against Garbage : North Brooklyn Development Corp : North Brooklyn Greens : North Greenpoint Neighbors for Environmental Justice : Oak Street Block Association : Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church : Park Moms : People’s Firehouse : Polish American Folk Dance Co. : Polish National Home : Polish Veterans Ladies Auxiliary : Polonia Technica : P.S.C. Community Services, Inc. : River Charter School : St. Anthony/St. Alphonsas Church : St. John’s Lutheran Church : Stop the Barge : Sybiracy : Vincent DePaul Society/St. Anthony’s of Padua : Watchperson Project : WaterWays and Green Views