$50K Grant Will Give Low-Income Residents Voice in Gowanus Canal Cleanup

By Leslie Albrecht on June 20, 2013 7:21am 

 The nonprofit Fifth Avenue Committee recently won a $50,000 grant to help give low-income Gowanus residents a voice in the cleanup of the heavily polluted Gowanus Canal.
The nonprofit Fifth Avenue Committee recently won a $50,000 grant to help give low-income Gowanus residents a voice in the cleanup of the heavily polluted Gowanus Canal.
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Flickr/e.ddy

GOWANUS — A neighborhood nonprofit has won a $50,000 grant to help give low-income Gowanus residents a voice in the cleanup of the heavily polluted Gowanus Canal.

Fifth Avenue Committee, a nonprofit organization that develops affordable housing and works to create jobs for low-income Brooklynites, received the grant from the New York Community Trust, a community foundation.

The money will go toward holding a series of public forums where low-income Gowanus residents will learn about the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's plans to rid the Gowanus Canal of dangerous toxins. Residents' responses and questions will be submitted to the agency.

"[The canal cleanup] is going to affect the community in many dimensions for years to come," said Patricia Swann, a program officer with New York Community Trust.

"It's going to be very disruptive of existing resources and public spaces in the neighborhood, so it's important that people are involved and engaged in reviewing these decisions and have input into how they're made."

The EPA's cleanup, which could cost $500 million and last until 2022, will likely involve digging up several polluted sites along the canal, and scooping contaminated material out of it.

Gowanus residents have raised concerns how the canal cleanup could impact the "Double D" neighborhood pool. It could result in the placement of a sewage storage tank underneath the park that holds the pool.

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