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As Murals Go Up, Residents Around Atlantic Yards Call for More Transparency

 Ten new murals were painted on the construction fencing of the Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park development in Prospect Heights on Saturday.
Ten new murals were painted on the construction fencing of the Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park development in Prospect Heights on Saturday.
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DNAinfo/Rachel Holliday Smith

PROSPECT HEIGHTS — As the neighborhood enjoys 10 new murals painted on construction fencing around the Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park development, residents living next to the work site have a message for those responsible for the 22-acre project: the artwork is nice, but we want a better view behind the wall.

In an open letter sent to the state, mayor and the developers of the site, the group — the Barclays Center Impact Zone Alliance — said it would welcome the “introduction of art” to the 16-foot-high construction fencing surrounding the project, but stressed that the initiative, named Pacific Park Arts, “does not absolve the developer from the obligation to proceed with the project in a fair, reasonable and responsible manner.”

“The local community is likely to be exposed to adverse construction impacts and the risks they entail for at least twenty years,” the letter read. “It is long past due … to put in place the oversight that the public’s stake in the project merits, and the health of the impacted community requires.”

Specifically, the group would like to see a “state-hired environmental monitor” on the work site and requested that project construction experts and contractors be available to take questions from residents at public meetings. Additionally, they said, the board charged last year with overseeing the project, the Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation (AYCDC), should have access to all meetings regarding the development held by Empire State Development, the state agency that oversees the project.

In response, developer Greenland Forest City Partners said Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park is “one of the most highly regulated projects in the city,” and has a history of transparency.

“Pacific Park Brooklyn has a strong record of compliance and has been completely transparent and engaged with the greater Brooklyn community about the project's long-term impacts and steps we are taking to mitigate these conditions,” said developer spokesperson Nicole Kolinsky.

Though the ESD did not comment on the specific demands outlined by the group, an official from the agency said Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park has "ample oversight," particularly since the formation of the AYCDC.

The members of the Alliance — residents living in the immediate blocks surrounding the work site and the sports arena for which it is named — are frequent critics of the development, often putting pressure on the state and developers to mitigate the effects of the construction on Prospect Heights locals.

The group officially formed at the beginning of this year to publicly demand the city keep residents in mind ahead of the now-defunct bid to hold the Democratic National Convention in Brooklyn.