When the Bloomberg administration proposed an ambitious plan to remake the North Brooklyn waterfront, transforming it from a gritty industrial area into a high rise-filled haven with sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline, one of the things the community asked for – or rather demanded – was a waterfront park surrounding the Bushwick Inlet, a small estuary off the East River.
Anyone who remembers what Kent Avenue was like before the rezoning compared to what it looks like today, by all accounts the Bloomberg administration's plan “worked” - depending, we guess, on your definition of that word.
But amid the residential towers, the fancy weekend food markets, and the new upscale shops and boutiques, one thing is still missing: a fully realized Bushwick Inlet Park.
Over the weekend the local community and their elected officials, who never let the city forget about the promise to create a new 27-acre park, finally got to officially celebrate.
The city is finally in full ownership of all of the property necessary to create the park in its entirety.
Let's hope that all of the concessions the city's planners promise to communities in exchange for making over their neighborhoods – most recently the big promises made to residents of East New York – come to fruition.
And hopefully residents don't have to petition, camp out overnight, or resort to tactics to shame the city into taking action, like the supporters of Bushwick Inlet Park have been forced to do over the years.
Bushwick Inlet Park will be a testament to their hard work and perseverance, and here's hoping they don't have to force the city's hand in another ten years to actually complete the park.
The Parks Department needs to kick off the new year with a concerted effort to begin planning the park, so that construction can begin as soon as possible. We're sure that creating a park of this magnitude from the literal ground up is going to be a long process.
Activists worked for years to force the city to get to this point, now it's time for the city to finish the job.