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Barclays Center Has Bieber, Jay-Z on Schedule, But No 'Community Events'

PROSPECT HEIGHTS — Big name acts like Justin Bieber, Barbra Streisand and Journey are booked to perform months from now at the Barclays Center, but the new arena hasn't scheduled any of the so-called "community events" intended to raise money for local non-profits.

The neighborhood-boosting events were promised in the Atlantic Yards Community Benefits Agreement, which spelled out how locals would benefit from the new arena which is set to open in September with a Jay-Z concert.

In addition to a pledge to provide jobs for public housing residents, the Community Benefits Agreement called for the Barclays Center to be "available to community groups for at least 10 events per year, at a reasonable rate, with net proceeds from such events to be used to support non-profit community organizations."

So far, none of those events have been scheduled, said Barclays Center spokesman Barry Baum.

"It's too early for that."

Though it's still under construction, the arena has already pulled together a star-studded calendar for its first year of operation, with tickets on sale now for shows by Beiber, Streisand, opera star Bocelli, songwriting legend Leonard Cohen, and the 1970's band Rush.

Prices for those shows range from a low of $29.50 for Cohen, up to $716 for Streisand.

Last week, officials dubbed the arena the new home of gospel in New York City and unveiled a roster of gospel shows.

Events at the new space have been scheduled as far into the future as October 2013, when the New York Masters equestrian show will wow audiences with horse jumping. But the 10 "community events" are still missing from the Barclays Center line-up.

"They're very actively scheduling big ticket events, but like with everything else that's supposedly for the public, they haven't focused on (the community events)," said Daniel Goldstein, co-founder of the anti-Atlantic Yards group Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn.

"Everything that was sold as a benefit to the community, from the housing to the jobs to the open space — they're all on the back burner."

Developer Forest City Ratner has yet to start construction on any of the Atlantic Yards affordable housing units originally slated for completion by 2016, the Wall Street Journal reported recently.

Baum said Barclays Center officials would be working on scheduling the community events over the next few months. "We're going to work with our community partners to come up with a plan," Baum said.

Among those community partners is the Rev. Herbert Daughtry, who worked with Forest City Ratner to craft the Community Benefits Agreement along with a coalition of neighborhood groups known as the Downtown Brooklyn Neighborhood Alliance.

It's the DBNA who will organize the community events calendar and choose which neighborhood groups will be allowed to host the events, Daughtry said.

"We want to go directly to people we know in the community who we know are doing good work," Daughtry said.

"The proceeds are to be used toward enhancing local organizations, prioritizing those organizations who are doing good work but don't get the recognition and don't know how to raise money."

Daughtry said he already had some groups in mind, but declined to name them.

Goldstein said the lack of community events on the Barclays Center roster is another example of why there's a need for an independent monitor who would ensure that the benefits outlined in the Community Benefits Agreement become a reality.

Goldstein noted that it's never been made clear exactly what a "community event" is and how the events will be organized.

"What does it even mean, a 'community event?'" Goldstein said.

"Would they for example allow a screening of "The Battle for Brooklyn?" asked Goldstein, referring to the documentary about locals fighting to halt the development of Atlantic Yards.