Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Next Quality of Life meeting September 4 (no longer a committee?); community thanked for commitment to project success

A message yesterday from Nicole J. Jordan, Director, Community Relations, for Empire State Development:
Dear Community,
Forest City Ratner Companies, along with New York State and New York City representatives will host the next Quality of Life meeting Thursday, September 4, 2014 at 6:00 PM in the YWCA Community Room located at 30 Third Avenue, Brooklyn NY 11217. We will present an overview of the housing plan and upcoming construction activities.
An overview of the presentation will be emailed in the coming week. If you have any questions please contact ESD at atlanticyards@esd.ny.gov. Thank you for your continued commitment to the overall success of this project.
Please plan to arrive promptly in order to provide time for presentations and questions and answers from the community members.
Best regards,
Nicole
(Emphases added)

It's definitely useful to get a presentation ahead of time, as occurred in June.

A change of tone

But it is a bit confounding to compare this message with one, say, from last February, when it was considered a committee meeting:
Dear Members of the Atlantic Yards Quality of Life Committee, 
The next Quality of Life Committee meeting will be held on: 
Monday, February 24th, 2014
@6:30pm
Brooklyn Hospital Community Room 3rd Floor
121 DeKalb Avenue
Brooklyn, NY, 11201 
This meeting is a forum for representatives from the community and civic groups to engage Empire State Development, Forest City Ratner Companies and Barclays Center operators regarding issues affecting the quality of life for residents and businesses in close proximity to the arena.
Back then, community members were portrayed as equal participants, even if it didn't work that way in practice.

Also---though see below--I'm not sure meeting attendees are necessarily committed to the overall success of the project. The overall success may be in tension with oversight and/or mitigations of impacts, and some residents may be more committed to the latter.

(A reader writes to upbraid me: "The project is defined in part by its environmental commitments. The project is not a success if the environmental commitments are not met." Point taken, but I was thinking that the "overall success of this project," at least as defined by Forest City, is in tension with that.)

Indeed, a message this past June from Derek Lynch, who was then Manager of Community and Government Relations regarding AtlanticYards, stated, in broader terms:
Thank you again for your continued commitment to the community and the overall success of this project.
The latest change in language may just be careless. But even such carelessness may be telling.

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