SUNSET PARK — Picnic tables, benches and infrastructure for ferry services are just a few of the upgrades that a Brooklyn politician wants the city to add to a Sunset Park pier.
The Economic Development Corporation is negotiating a deal with the Vane Brothers Company that would allow the Baltimore-based marine transportation firm to use the south side of Pier 4 at the Brooklyn Army Terminal to store empty bunkering barges, DNAinfo New York reported in July.
The deal would cut public access to the pier, located near 58th Street, nearly in half.
In response, City Councilman Carlos Menchaca is calling on the EDC to “formally commit to” certain conditions that would benefit the community before the deal goes through, including installing “fenders” — infrastructure needed for boats to dock — on the north side of the pier to support ferries, historic ships and fishing vessels, he said in an open letter to EDC president Kyle Kimball.
The letter also called for larger community conversations to get the neighborhood's input in determining specific details of the infrastructure investments, Menchaca's office said.
On Monday, the councilman presented the letter to Community Board 7’s 58th Street Pier Ad Hoc Committee, which addresses public concern with the Vane Brothers’ proposal.
The board has yet to make a decision on whether to support the conditions of Menchaca's letter, District Manager Jeremy Laufer said.
But some residents are strongly opposed to having barges parked at the pier and are demanding that the councilman fight to maintain the entire area for community use, according to a petition started by local resident Hector Santiago.
As of Thursday morning, the petition had 54 signatures. Menchaca was not available to comment on it.
Menchaca's letter also asks the city to consider adding new benches, picnic tables and planters, plans for bathroom access near the pier, trash cans, electrical and water outlets and signs that explain the Vane Brothers’ operation.
The EDC must also promise to maintain the north side of the pier as a non-industrial space, the letter said.
“While this proposal is as-of-right, and therefore does not provide for any formal City Council review, there are a number of actions I would like to see EDC take before formalizing any such agreement with Vane Brothers,” Menchaca said in the letter.
The EDC did not respond to request for comment.