WILLIAMSBURG — Local politicians want to restore what Robert Moses tore apart.
Councilmen Mark Levine and Antonio Reynoso are looking to reconnect South Williamsburg neighborhoods divided by the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway by constructing a park over it, rekindling a decades-old project priced at $100 million.
Levine and Reynoso, who represent the district, have been in talks for about a year figuring out how they can secure funding for the project that could cover the BQE trench from South Third to South Fifth streets.
"Robert Moses split the community in two putting the BQE right in between us," said Reynoso, adding that when kids play basketball in the small parks on its edge, "they're sucking up fumes from the BQE."
The parks currently located along the edges of the trench would be revamped, creating space for a baseball diamond, grilling areas, wooded sections and a pool, Gothamist first reported. Though the actual deck itself is just concrete coated with turf or blacktop, according to councilman Reynoso.
The design of the BQ Green project would block some of those fumes and even possibly have a ventilation system, said Levine, plus bring economic, social and health benefits to South Williamsburg.
It would bring, "all the most powerful benefits of a great park," to a "neighborhood that's had considerable growth of population without added growth of parkland," Levine said. "It's really starved for additional parks."
Similar plans were hatched decades ago by the Regional Plan Association but were reinvigorated by former City Councilwoman Diana Reyna several years back, according to the design team DLANDstudio's website.
Reyna funded a feasibility study for the project, and since she become Deputy Borough President, she's earmarked $2 million for the project, according to Bennett Baruch, a staffer at her office.
A slice of funds could come from $150 million that stands to go to the Parks Department for creating and renovating major parks, said Levine. The Borough Presidents Office is hoping to convince city and state Transportation authorities to chip in around $50 million to build the deck, the first step of the project.
"We're trying to be creative," Reynoso said. "We’re in a place where we could do amazing things."