GOWANUS — Community leaders are urging the city to take a developer's offer to donate free land for a park near the Gowanus Canal, saying the deal will save time, taxpayer dollars and greenspace.
The Gowanus Canal Conservancy, Gowanus Alliance, Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce and other local stakeholders are throwing support behind Alloy Development's offer to give some property on Nevins and Butler streets to the city.
"We believe that such a plan is realistic, achievable and within reach," wrote the Conservancy and other neighborhood organizations in a Dec. 10 letter to the city's Department of Environmental Protection.
The groups urged the city to "sit down with Alloy to work out an agreement that … unifies the community around a common vision."
A DEP spokesman said Tuesday that the agency will meet with Alloy "to discuss possible ways for us both to meet our goals in Gowanus."
Alloy made the unusual offer to donate the property because it wants to avoid having the city seize the land, where it hopes to build a commercial development, through eminent domain. The city could take the property so it can build two underground sewage tanks there that would keep wastewater from flowing into the Gowanus Canal.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ordered the city to build the tanks as part of the $506 million Superfund cleanup of the heavily polluted Gowanus Canal, but EPA officials and the city disagree on where the tanks should go. The EPA says the underground tanks should be built in nearby Thomas Greene Park, where the Double D pool is.
But the city is against that idea, in part because it would deprive locals of the use of the park and pool for as long as nine years. As a way to avoid closing the park for so long, the city is considering acquiring the property on Nevins and Butler, where Alloy Development wants to build a commercial structure, and putting the sewage tanks there.
Alloy hopes that offering up a portion of the real estate for free will fend off the city's possible land grab.
“The community has made it clear they don't want further cleanup delays and they don't want to lose access to parkland,” Alloy president Jared Delle Valle said Tuesday.
"Our proposal addresses both concerns, and we're pleased to see that so many of our local partners agree. We look forward to starting a meaningful dialogue with the EPA, DEP and Parks to expose all of the technical challenges and opportunities that exist to craft the best way forward."