NYC pols push Mayor de Blasio to use eminent domain for land to build Brooklyn park: ‘No more broken promises’
NY Daily News
August 8, 2016
By Ellen Durkin
Pols and residents are asking Mayor de Blasio to use eminent domain to get land needed for a long promised but never delivered park on the Williamsburg waterfront.
The administration offered Norm Brodsky, who owns the CitiStorage site needed to complete Bushwick Inlet Park, $100 million for the property — but the landlord rejected it, looking for a higher price.
Now advocates who gathered at City Hall Monday say the city should use its eminent domain powers to force him to sell the land for the park, which was promised as part of a 2005 deal to rezone the area for condo towers.
“Greed should not get in the way of a park that was promised to this community,” said Public Advocate Letitia James. “No more broken promises. It is time that the city live up to its responsibility.”
City officials said their $100 million offer was valid for 60 days, which was set to expire later Monday. But the money remains in the city budget and officials say they’d still strike a deal with Brodsky if he was willing.
“The City remains open to discussions with the owner about ways to guarantee that the community needs are met. As evidenced by the hundreds of millions the City has already invested in the park, we are committed to providing green space for North Brooklynites,” said de Blasio spokeswoman Natalie Grybauskas. “A negotiated sale is the most expedient way to acquire this property, and the City’s offer is fair.”
The city doesn’t want to use eminent domain because officials believe it would drive up the cost, sources said.
Brodsky conducted his own auction to take private bids for the site. He has said he’d be fine with the use of eminent domain, as long as he got a price he thought was fair. He did not return a call for comment Monday.
“The city did the right thing earlier this summer. It put money on the table,” said Sen. Daniel Squadron (D-Brooklyn). “But now…we will not rest until we have acquired that park and built it.”
Squadron and Assemblyman Joe Lentol have introduced legislation that would allow the state to grab the land, though they’d prefer the city to act directly.
“What we have here today is a failure by government, when the lynchpin of the 2005 waterfront agreement was a substantial park for our community and that promise was reneged on,” said Lentol (D-Brooklyn).
He said pols would appeal to de Blasio’s rival Gov. Cuomo to take over if Hizzoner doesn’t move soon.
“If the mayor refuses on both counts, I’m prepared to go to the governor with my colleagues…and ask the governor to use his power of eminent domain to get it,” he said. “We’re going to tell the mayor that we’re going to the governor, and we’re going to ask him to do his job. I don’t know that the mayor’s going to like that, do you?”