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Greenpoint Projects Getting $4.25M From ExxonMobile Settlement, State Says

By Gwynne Hogan | December 15, 2015 3:47pm
 The Greenpoint Monitor Museum was awarded $599,200 to restore an area of shoreline and convert it into a public space at 56 Quay Street, according to the state's attorney general.
The Greenpoint Monitor Museum was awarded $599,200 to restore an area of shoreline and convert it into a public space at 56 Quay Street, according to the state's attorney general.
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Courtesy of Greenpoint Monitor Museum

GREENPOINT — Five projects including an urban farm, a green roof, and a shoreline restoration proposal have been awarded $4.25 million as part of the state's 2011 settlement with ExxonMobil, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced Tuesday.

The funds are the the last of the $19.5 million that the state got from the fuel company in 2011 to compensate for decades of oil spills from refineries and underground tanks in Greenpoint. 

At least 17 million gallons of oil were released underground, contaminating around 55 acres of land, according to the attorney general.

Just under $1 million in funds will go towards building a 21,711 square foot bird-friendly, green roof and community space that will help reduce contaminated runoff into the Newtown Creek located at 520 Kingsland Ave. The roof will be open to the public and will double as a outdoor classroom for local kids.

Around $500,000 has been delegated to construct an urban farm at McCarren Park while $562,056 build a bee and butterfly sanctuary at McGolrick Park, to improve drainage throughout the park and to run gardening and environmental programs for residents.

The Greenpoint Monitor Museum was awarded $599,200 to restore an area of shoreline and convert it into a public space at 56 Quay Street.

Finally $1.6 million was set aside for to improve the streetscape with green infrastructure along portions of West Street, Commercial Street, McGuinness Boulevard and Calyer Street, to reduce the release of raw sewage into the Newtown Canal nearby.

Funds from the state settlement will be matched by $12.7 million committed by grant recipients, according to the attorney general.

"It's been really exciting to have that amount of money coming to the neighborhood," said Julia Ward, who works for Open Space Alliance for North Brooklyn and is co-sponsoring two of the five winning proposals. "It really shows what Greenpointers are able to do."

The projects will provide invaluable educational resources for neighborhood kids, will improve quality of life for Greenpointers and will make small steps at improving the water quality and environment through the watershed and green roof projects, Ward said. 

[It's] really going to do great things for the community and for the environment of the city as a whole," Ward said.

The Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund, established by the state after the 2011 settlement, has now overseen the allotment of $19.5 over two years, including more than a dozen projects that received funding this November.

The fund requested proposals from the public back in 2013. Experts reviewed all the proposals and determined nine projects that were most feasible, then Greenpoint residents voted on which projects should receive funding this November, determining the five winners.

$54.5 million in total will be invested in improving Greenpoint's environment from settlement money and funds pledged by grant recipients over the past two years, according Schneiderman.