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Property Taxes Should Cover Cost of Remainder of Bushwick Inlet Park: Pols

By Gwynne Hogan | May 24, 2016 3:46pm
 The southern most section of Bushwick Inlet Park has been completed.
The southern most section of Bushwick Inlet Park has been completed.
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Facebook NYC Parks/Daniel Avila

GREENPOINT — The nearly 30-acre, waterfront park promised to North Brooklyn residents in 2005 should be funded with increased property taxes the city will collect once the park raises property values around it, a group of politicians say.

The same "Revenue Property Tax Model," that the city plans to use to fund the Brooklyn-Queens waterfront street car, should be also be employed to finish Bushwick Inlet Park, their letter sent to Mayor Bill de Blasio's office on Monday reads.

"Much like transit, parks increase property values in surrounding areas," the letter reads, referencing a 2008 study by Hudson River Park Trust that found the park was responsible for a 20 percent bump in property values among waterfront properties in Greenwich Village. 

"[The city should use] municipal revenue increases associated with rising property values generated by the project."

State Sen. Daniel Squadron, State Sen. Martin Dilan, Rep. Carolyn Maloney and a handful of other city and state politicians signed on.

City Hall spokeswoman Natalie Grybauskas said that the mayor's office is reviewing the proposal.

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, who also added his name to Monday's letter, had earlier suggested that the city use property tax revenues from 25 Kent Ave., a yet-to-be-constructed 8-story office tower across the street from the promised park, to fund Bushwick Inlet Park.

The suggestion of a new funding stream to help pay for the park is the latest push by state and local officials to get the city to make good on its promise to build the waterfront green space promised during the 2005 rezoning that allowed residential towers to sprout up along the North Brooklyn coastline.

Last year, state officials introduced eminent domain legislation that would allow them to seize the property, though it's crawling its way through Albany.

While the city has budgeted $225 million toward buying a section of land, remediation and completion of some sections of the park, it still hasn't laid out plans to buy the CitiStorage site, an 11-acre property in the middle of two other sections of future parkland.

Its owner Norman Brodsky hopes to fetch more than $200 million for the 11-acre waterfront parcel, however an appraisal from attorneys working with Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park, who are advocating for the park's completion, values the land between $80 million and $100 million. 

The dramatic difference is based on the fact that it's currently zoned for industrial use. Brodsky's amount assumed the land would be rezoned for residential development, though Mayor's Bill de Blasio came out in last December saying he wouldn't support rezoning at the site without community support.

"We expect the city to come through and figure it out," said Steve Chesler of Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park. "It's all coming to a head."