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Organizers Celebrate $20 Million in Bed-Stuy Upgrades

By Paul DeBenedetto | September 10, 2013 6:33pm
 The revitalization created a new public plaza, street upgrades and new wifi, according to organizers.
Organizers pose during the celebration of a $20 million Fulton Street upgrade which, included the creation of Marcy Plaza.
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BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — A Bed-Stuy nonprofit celebrated $20 million in neighborhood upgrades on Tuesday, including street improvements, the addition of a new pedestrian plaza and a public art installation inspired by landmarks in the neighborhood.

Executives from Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation joined community members and city officials to officially cut the ribbon on the city-funded revitalization project, which renovated Restoration Plaza while also creating a new public space across the street on Marcy Avenue and Fulton Street.

The project also helped spruce up a one-mile stretch of Fulton Street with new lighting, expanded sidewalks and additional foliage to help beautify the area, and added WiFi access to the two plazas, organizers said.

"Restoration has always been at the forefront of improving Bedford-Stuyvesant and providing opportunities for its residents," said Restoration President and CEO Colvin Grannum.

To create Marcy Plaza, the city cordoned off a large section of the street to add tables, benches and new greenery, along with a new mosaic called "Mathematical Star," which weaves together snippets from iconic locations around the neighborhood, according to artist Ellen Harvey.

Harvey took images from Herbert Von King Park, Concord Baptist Church, the Hattie Carthan Community Garden and other popular Bed-Stuy destinations to create the mosaic.

Narrowing the selection down to just 18 locations was one of the most difficult parts, the artist said.

"It's an embarrassment of riches, as far as history and architecture in Bed-Stuy," Harvey said. 

As part of the celebration, organizers thanked outgoing City Councilman Al Vann, a long-time politician in the neighborhood who is term-limited this year.

Vann was instrumental over the years in helping Restoration grow, according to Executive Vice President Dyrnest K. Sinckler. The outgoing councilman was also on the organization's founding board of directors.

"The improvements we celebrate today are but a footnote in the body of work that has changed the landscape of Bedford-Stuyvesant and central Brooklyn," Sinckler said. "He has always been our bright and shining champion."