Monday, May 7, 2012

A “good enough” neighborhood just isn’t good enough in Carroll Gardens/Gowanus!


A “good enough” neighborhood just isn’t good enough in Carroll Gardens/Gowanus!

Is An Open Sewer Good Enough for You in Carroll Gardens/Gowanus?

This picture taken on 4/21/2012 tells the story:  Here we can see the PERSISTENT CSO's (Combine Sewer Overflows) problem in the Gowanus Canal.  This picture was taken after several DRY day, i.e. after several days of NO rainfall.
Is an open sewer good enough for you in Carroll Gardens/Gowanus?

On Monday evening, July 2nd, the CAG met at the St Marys Senior Housing.

The meeting was well attended by CAG members, especially considering this is a very busy vacation time for many folks. There were also several guests--some speakers--some very quiet observers..and happily, some new neighborhood faces who were interested in what was happening at the CAG.

The meeting kicked off with the NY State Department of Conservation Project Manager, Hank Williams who gave an update on the upland sites--the former gas manufacturing plants located at Thomas Greene Park, Public Place and the Lowe's site.

We are still waiting for some reports from the DEC but they are moving along. The Thomas Greene Park site is awaiting a Feasibility Study, The barrier wall and some of the pilot testing that is to be done at Public Place is still waiting for some additional permitting by the Army Corps of Engineers and the Lowe's site it was stated that there is no contamination leaking into the canal from that site at this time.

In an interesting exchange, we learned that although we have been reassured many many times that the clean ups that National Grid is doing on each of the sites would be identical in the level of remediation-- and that we are going to get the best possible job at each location regardless of the end use.......there is apparently a plan to remediate the Public Place site (AKA Citizen"s site), to what Mr Williams referred to as, "development neutral"-----which apparently means that it will be cleaned to a higher degree than one that is not remediated to a "development neutral" status.

So, the other sites and by proximity, all of us are just not so lucky. 

Thomas Greene Park and Lowe's sites will NOT be cleaned to the mysterious "development neutral" standard----although the name of the standard they are reaching for was not revealed. Perhaps something like, "pretty good", "so so", "good enough"....??? we just don't know....

In all fairness, Mr Williams came on board a little late in the game and may not be as familiar with all of the details, plans and goings on as he should be, but when asked point blank if each of the sites would be remediated to the same level he hesitatingly but most definitely had to admit that they would not.

Next, Christos Tsiamis, our EPA Project Manager gave an update on his presentation to the National Remedy Review Board (NRRB) in Washington D.C. in mid June.

He explained that this particular board, one of the many necessary steps in the Superfund process. was initiated under the Clinton Administration for EPA projects that would cost in excess of twenty five million ($25,000,000) dollars. 

The Project Manager and his team present their plans for the site. This presentation is usually fairly brief. The NRRB routinely hears two to three presentations each day. However, our  Gowanus, was given TWO FULL DAYS worth of time for its presentation----Christos pointed out that this is pretty rare. Christos also reaffirmed that the Proposed Plan will probably be presented at the end of this coming September.

Administrative, Archaeology and Water Quality/Technical Committees all gave updates:

Admin Committee is working on some internal housekeeping business in preparation of some needed Charter changes.

The Archaeology Committee informed us that the Brooklyn Historical Society would like to archive the CAG activities for posterity. Imagine that!

                                                                                                  TO BE CONTINUED....


The featured Free Public Place artwork today was created by by Leopold Veuve and Reshma Devnani who wrote:

"We would like to see Public Place become a Recreational Park where basically, people of all ages could come and hang out."

"This park would consist of:
  • trail to jog/bikeride/walk
  • are afor children to draw with chalk
  • street games
  • basketball or some game for an older crowd
  • benches for people to sit and relax.  
Leo and Reshma."

Please feel free to visit our Free Public Place Facebook page and rember to "like" us and submit your own ideas!  This workshop was part of the Brooklyn Utopias Exhibition: Park Space, Play Space held at the Old Stone House.


With the "Protect Our Homes" petition, CORD was formed in May, 2007. This petition arose as an overwhelmingly negative response to the coming of the over-sized 360 Smith Street Development at the corner of Smith Street and Second Place (Aka Oliver House; aka 131 Second Place). This petition, which had well over three thousand signatures, led to a new zoning text amendment in summer of 2008.

To: Our Elected Officials, Community Leaders, The MTA:
(MAY, 2007)

We the undersigned Carroll Gardens homeowners and residents, are appalled by the "as of right" ruling which allows owners and developers to erect buildings in our neighborhood with no regard to the impact they will present to our quality of life and the value of our homes........