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Share Your Vision For Public Waterfront Esplanades on the Gowanus Canal

 The canalside esplanade at the Whole Foods grocery story in Gowanus.
The canalside esplanade at the Whole Foods grocery story in Gowanus.
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Flickr/Steven Pisano

GOWANUS — A neighborhood nonprofit working toward a greener Gowanus wants to hear your vision for how waterfront public parks could enhance the neighborhood.

The Gowanus Canal Conservancy will host a series of workshops where the public can weigh in on the "waterfront esplanades" that are emerging along the contaminated waterway.

The 40-foot wide public parks are required whenever a new development includes a change in land use. So far, the canal-side green spots have been built behind the Lowe's on Ninth Street and Second Avenue; at the Whole Foods on Third Avenue and Third Street; at the new 365 Bond St. apartment building; and at the Sponge Park at the end of Second Street.

"We think these could be really great assets for the community, but we want to make sure the community weighs in on what they contain," said Gowanus Canal Conservancy executive director Andrea Parker.

Parker noted that there are several waterfront green spaces in Williamsburg, but they don't "knit together." The Conservancy wants the waterfront parks in Gowanus to one day form a "vibrant open space network" throughout the neighborhood.

Some of the existing waterfront green spots in Gowanus are less successful than others, Parker said. The one behind the Lowe's, for example, is a scrappy patch of grass with a bench or two. "The Lowe’s esplanade complies with the requirements, but it’s not an inspiring public space," Parker said.


At right is the waterfront green space behind the Lowe's on Ninth Street in Gowanus. Photo by Allison Cromwell.

The Conservancy's goal is to create a set of guidelines that developers would consult when building the green spaces, Parker said. The upcoming workshops are the public's chance to add their suggestions to the mix.

The workshops will be held:

► Aug. 3, 5 to 8 p.m., Whole Foods esplanade, Third Avenue and Third Street
► Aug. 13, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Lowe's esplanade, Ninth Street and Second Avenue
► Sept. 28, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., Sponge Park, Second Street and the Canal

If you can't make it in person, you can still voice your opinion about neighborhood green spaces on the Conservancy's interactive map.