It has been nearly 10 years since the Grand Street Business Improvement District (BID) first petitioned to remove and repair the six blocks of weathered brick sidewalks from Bushwick to Union avenues, and now they are finally getting what they asked for.
According to a spokesperson for the Department of Transportation (DOT), the contract for the $2.5 million sidewalk revamping project, slated to begin this July, “is in the final steps of the registration process and the bidder will be announced shortly.”
Grand Street BID executive director Artineh Haven has vigilantly worked with the DOT towards making this capital project a reality since she first took over in August 2011.
“In two years, Grand Street is going to be a very different place because of all the construction happening around here,” Haven said, anticipating numerous development projects along the East Williamsburg corridor. “That’s why it’s important for us to start retail attraction as soon as we can so we can accommodate these tenants, so they can do their shopping on Grand Street.”
In addition to the newly installed standard cement sidewalks, the pedestrian walkways will include more trees and possibly see the first wave of LED light installations, according to Haven.
“We would like to reinstall the bike racks, or get new bike racks, and make Grand Street more presentable and more attractive,” she said.
The neighborhood's former councilwoman and Deputy Borough President Diana Reyna agreed with Haven that the need for this project is greater than ever, as new apartments are already expected to be made available along the BID in the next two years.
“It’s almost too hard to believe that this is happening,” she said. “Here we are 10 years later and what we are seeing is a very different Grand Street.”
Borough President Eric Adams noted the importance of creating a conducive environment for business development.
“I am pleased that Borough Hall has been able to support capital improvements to the sidewalks along Grand Street,” Adams said. “Quality of life improvements such as these will increase local foot traffic, benefiting our small business community and making Williamsburg a better place to live, work and raise a family.”