Friday, June 23, 2006

CBA coalition launches invite-only "Meet & Greet" sessions

For those interested in the Atlantic Yards project, a series of Meet & Greet sessions have begun at the Atlantic Yards Information Center on the third floor of the Atlantic Center Mall. While the term "open forum" is used to describe the meetings, they are invitation-only. According to a press release:
The Atlantic Yards Community Benefits Agreement Coalition has started a series of “Meet and Greets” in Brooklyn, NY to both introduce community residents to the proposed $3.5 billion, Frank Gehry-designed Atlantic Yards project and to elicit additional feedback.... Future Meet & Greets are planned to occur regularly in the ensuing months.

The source for that press release was the Event Calendar Tuesday of the Electronic Urban Report (EUR), which listed the following: Essence Fest adds rap show, Diddy drops out; NBAF in Atlanta; Hip-Hop Theater Fest in NYC; ‘Thug’ film at Urbanworld; Atlantic Yards Meet & Greet. (Emphasis added)

While the issue of community benefits would presumably be interesting to a broad range of people, Forest City Ratner p.r. staff apparently want to get the word out to the black/urban audience.

First meeting June 13

The first event was held June 13. According to the invitation (click on the image to enlarge it):
Our Meet and Greet(s) are intended to be an open forum in which community residents and businesses can gather and meet an assortment of CBA signatory groups and representatives. In addition, these series of Meet and Greet(s) are to inform community residents and businesses more about the community benefits of the Atlantic Yards Project (AYP).
If you want to learn more about the CBA Atlantic Yards Project, have an idea, suggestion or just want to enjoy the company of your Neighbors, please join us! Our Meet and Greet(s) are free and you are welcomed to come via RSVP.


Given to attendees was a copy of the "Connect to CBA Opportunities" brochure produced by BUILD. The same document, which discusses plans for job training, affordable housing, and other CBA components (some of them still emerging), was given out Tuesday at the BUILD meeting, also held at the Atlantic Yards Information Center.

Cops, bankers also join in

The version of the guest list I saw had 66 names. Among the group:
--13 people from nine different public housing projects across Brooklyn, representatives of Public Housing Communities, a CBA signatory.
--4 people representing Brooklyn Endeavor Experience, a CBA signatory
--10 people from the New York State Association of Minority Contractors, a CBA signatory
--12 representatives from BUILD, a CBA signatory
--2 people from Mainline Financial Services
--2 representatives from HSBC
--1 community relations representative from Polytechnic University (a partner with Forest City Ratner on MetroTech)
--5 staffers from the Kings County District Attorney's Office
--7 representatives of the New York Police Department
--1 person from the Department of Education

Not present at this meeting were representatives from three CBA signatories: the Downtown Brooklyn Educational Consortium (DBEC), headed by Freddie Hamilton; the Downtown Brooklyn Neighborhood Alliance (DBNA), headed by the Rev. Herbert Daughtry; and the All-Faith Council of Brooklyn (AFCB), co-chaired by the Rev. Walter J. Morris.

Still in formation?

Based on the "Connect to CBA Opportunities" document, it seems that at least a couple of the CBA signatory groups are still in formation. (Click on the page at right for a larger view.) It states that PHC "will establish a Public Housing Council that will work with NYCHA Residents to ensure full participation in the programs and benefits of this Agreement."

Also, it states that "AFCB will form and facilitate an All-Faith Council, which shall be representative of the religious diversity within the Community, to establish an ongoing mechanism for community input for referrals to the jobs, housing and other programs created by this Agreement."

Unanswered questions

I wanted to find out more about this meeting and future meetings, so on Wednesday I called and emailed CBA Chair Delia Hunley-Adossa. I haven't heard back yet.

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