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City Moves Forward With $11M Plan to Fix Crumbling Borough Hall Sidewalks

By Janet Upadhye | February 11, 2014 1:55pm
 Locals have been complaining for years about the cracked bluestone slates surrounding Brooklyn's Borough Hall.
Borough Hall Bluestone
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DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — The city is planning to spend $11 million to fix the crumbling stone sidewalks surrounding Brooklyn Borough Hall after years of trips and falls, some that have resulted in lawsuits.

The design for the space, which is managed by the Parks Department, replaces the deteriorating bluestone with thicker textured granite tiles on top of a 6-inch concrete base.

The project at the landmarked space was long-delayed because of funding issues, but the money was finally provided by the mayor's office.

"We are thrilled to present this long awaited solution to our bluestone issues at Borough Hall," said Brooklyn Parks Commissioner Kevin Jeffrey during a Community Board 2 meeting Monday night. "We have funding in the budget to address these issues and we now have a conceptual design."

The proposed tiles — in grey toned "jet mist" and “charcoal black" — are one inch thicker than the original bluestone slabs and are resistant to skidding. They are also capable of withstanding the weight of trucks and other vehicles that drive onto the property for the weekly farmers market and other special events.

The bluestone has been crumbling around the building for nearly 20 years and locals have been raising concerns about the safety of the sidewalks for at least five years, according to Judy Stanton, Executive Director of the Brooklyn Heights Association, and Community Board 2 District Manager Robert Perris.

The issue gained attention in 2010 when 71-year-old Joan Bassin tripped on the sidewalk and broke her hip. Bassin sued the Parks Department for its alleged negligence, according to T0he Brooklyn Paper.

The outcome of that case was not immediately clear.

There have been several other trip-and-falls and lawsuits during that time as well.

The plan needs a letter of support by Community Board 2, and approval from The Landmarks Preservation Commission and the Public Design Commission to move forward.

Community Board 2 will vote to support the project on Feb. 12.

The timeline for construction has not yet been determined.