Going Coastal

State stalled on Bridge Park; new leader may spur building $150M waterfront

In Brooklyn, Go Coastal on November 30, 2007 at 10:51 pm

State officials are set to unveil a new leader for controversial Brooklyn Bridge Park Monday- eight months after Gov. Spitzer canned the previous president, the Daily News has learned.

Regina Myer, the longtime Brooklyn City Planning director, has been tapped to head the project, which will include a 1.3-mile waterfront park north of Atlantic Ave. and more than 1,200 private condos to pay for its upkeep, sources said.

The long-rumored appointment comes as even the park’s biggest supporters charge the project has stalled since Spitzer took over in January.

The Brooklyn Heights Association, a longtime park ally, recently sent a stinging letter to state and city officials demanding a new president and swift action at the park. Meanwhile, several key Brooklyn politicians who have backed the project were set to send their own letter today urging park planners to break ground by the first of the year.

“Since Governor Spitzer took office at the beginning of this year, there has been no real progress,” wrote City Councilman David Yassky (D-Brooklyn Heights), Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz and others.

“Without an imminent and guaranteed start date, the credibility of the City and State’s commitment to this project will erode even further.”

Construction in the park was originally slated for last April.

“We feel like we’ve been put on the back burner,” said Irene Janner of the Brooklyn Heights Association, which is also demanding officials release a project audit the Spitzer administration vowed to undertake last spring.

“Construction costs keep going up,” she added. “Every month that goes by and nothing happens, the money that was put up to make the park is worth less.”

Myer, who begins in two weeks, follows Gov. George Pataki-appointee Wendy Leventer, who had been a lightening rod for controversy and was ousted in March in a Spitzer shakeup. Myer has been at the Hudson Yards Development Corp. since last year, after spending 22 years at City Planning, including eight years at the helm of the Brooklyn office.

Officials from the Empire State Development Corp., which oversees the $150 million park, vowed last week to begin construction by early January.

“Our pace has been deliberate and targeted toward swift and cost-effective completion of a rare treasure – the first major park in Brooklyn in over a century,” said spokesman A.J. Carter. He added that so far $23 million in public funds has been spent on designing the park, lawsuits and salaries for planners, though he said a full audit isn’t done yet.

Despite the delays, the bulk of the park is still expected to be completed by 2010, Carter said. A lawsuit filed to stop condos from being built in the park is pending.

BY ELIZABETH HAYS
DAILY NEWS

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