Thursday, May 23, 2013

What happened to community use of the arena? Program for ten events will wait until second year of operations

Among the arena-related programs promised in the Atlantic Yards Community Benefits Agreement (CBA), tickets have been distributed regularly to community organizations, but another element in that section of CBA remains on hold:
The Arena will be available to community groups for at least ten (10) events per year, at a reasonable rate, with net proceeds from such events to be used to support non-profit community organizations.
The arena opened 9/28/12, but Downtown Brooklyn Neighborhood Alliance (DBNA) is still working on the events. DBNA executive director Sharon Daughtry, as I reported 11/17/12, said arena developer Forest City Ratner had provided ten open dates available for potential community use. Such events could fill the arena, or a smaller portion, or even just the 40/40 Club or practice court.

I checked back recently. "We are in the planning stages now and we're working out the details with Barclays and FCRC before making a formal public presentation," she said.

Not until second year

Daughtry said the program likely won't get off the ground until the second year of operations, which begins 9/28/13.

"At this point, we haven't definitively put any event on the calendar because the program in still being formulated," she said. "In fact, we haven't made a public announcement regarding guidelines and rules for participation yet. We want to make sure that this process is fair and transparent to all, so we are taking our time, crossing our 't' s and dotting our 'i'. I feel safe in saying that the events booked with our program should take place during the following year."

Daughtry said some proposals have been submitted, but have done so "simply because they heard about it" rather than responding to a call for submissions.

Graduations, fundraiser don't count

I asked Daughtry if any of the arena events already scheduled or held for nonprofit organizations--the Long Island University commencement last week, the NYU-POLY commencement today, and the fundraising event next month for the Brooklyn Hospital Foundation--qualify as among the ten community uses.

No, she said, as none of the events were scheduled via the DBNA.

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