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Community Board 2 Calls for Elementary School in Downtown Brooklyn

By Janet Upadhye | September 25, 2013 8:44am
 A view of Downtown Brooklyn from a rooftop in Carroll Gardens.
A view of Downtown Brooklyn from a rooftop in Carroll Gardens.
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Flickr/Jay Woodworth

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — A new elementary school is sorely needed in booming Downtown Brooklyn, Community Board 2 members said this week.

The board voted to place “the need for a public elementary school in Downtown Brooklyn” at the top of its Capital Budget Priorities and Requests list at a public hearing Monday night.

The mayor's office takes the list into account when determining the city’s budget.

“This is the moment,” said CB2 Executive Committee member Nancy Wolf. “I vote to make this issue a No. 1 priority, especially while there’s still more development happening.”

The vote came in response to a presentation by local parent Christopher Young, who said an estimated 2,600 grade school-aged children will call Downtown Brooklyn home within the next five years, yet there is no school to accommodate them.  

The closest schools are Brooklyn Heights' P.S. 8 and Vinegar Hill's P.S. 307.

Downtown Brooklyn has become one of the fastest growing neighborhoods in the city since its rezoning in 2004 which, to date, has created 5,000 new residential units. In the next five years, there will be between 5,000 and 8,000 more new units, according to the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership.

Young, along with more than 150 local parents, organized a group — Downtown Brooklyn School Solutions — to pressure officials to take action on the issue and started a petition asking the Department of Education to plan for a new school in Downtown Brooklyn.

They also wrote an open letter to developers asking them to include space for a school in their developments. Nine potential school sites were identified, including Forest City Ratner’s 10 Metrotech, the undeveloped Red Apple lots on Myrtle Avenue, phase three of City Point and NYU-Poly’s new graduate school at 370 Jay St.

So far the group has not received a response from any of the developers.

But Councilman Stephen Levin recently lent his support to the group, writing a letter noting that Downtown Brooklyn is somewhat isolated from surrounding neighborhoods and “having a school where children live is essential to establishing a residential neighborhood and ensuring the safety of all students.”

DOE spokeswoman Marge Feinberg called Downtown Brooklyn "an area of need."

“We are always happy to discuss possible partnerships with developers,” she said. 

Community Board 2 members said the need for a school is urgent.

“We have been quite worried about this issue for a long time,” Wolf said.