GOWANUS — With work poised to start on its 700-unit housing complex on the banks of the Gowanus Canal, developer Lightstone Group has donated $1,000 toward beautifying the polluted waterway.
Lightstone announced this week that it forked over the funds to the Gowanus Canal Conservancy, a nonprofit that leads efforts to add greenery to the traditionally toxic area.
The money will pay for a special project by local teen Alex Lola, an Eagle Scout candidate with Boy Scout Troop 815. With the help of the conservancy, Lola will build a portable greenhouse to grow native plants that will later be replanted in gardens around the canal.
Lightstone Group President Mitchell C. Hochberg said in a statement that the donation "reflects our goals of fostering strong community partnerships, investing in the future of Gowanus and improving the local environment."
He added, "We’re very much looking forward to seeing the greenhouse and the new plantings that will contribute to the environmental integrity of the neighborhood while also enhancing beautification.”
The donation comes as Lightstone is preparing to start construction on a 12-story residential complex at 363-365 Bond Street, between Carroll and Second streets. Part of the site was recently cleared of trees, Brooklyn blog Pardon Me For Asking reported, including the former Gowanus Grove space where an outdoor dance party was held weekly.
Local resident Carl Teitelbaum, a member of the anti-Lightstone group Save Gowanus, called the developer's donation a "public relations ploy."
"If they had given $1 million, that may have been significant," Teitelbaum said.
"They do a few things that are allegedly for the community, but for the most part they have total disregard for what the community needs or wants. To me, it’s meaningless."