Parks, Jobs, Housing, and Health? The governor's project for Central Brooklyn (and some distant AY echoes)
On Thursday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced 1.4 Billion "Vital Brooklyn" Initiative to Transform Central Brooklyn, as his press release said:
The groundbreaking proposal will target and invest in eight integrated areas, establishing a national paradigm for addressing chronic disparities, like systemic violence and entrenched poverty in high-need communities.Specifically, the big-ticket items in the initiative involve $140 million for Open Space & Recreation, $700 million for Community-Based Healthcare, and $563 million for Affordable Housing. The others are relatively small investments.
The comprehensive plan will focus on increasing access to open spaces and healthy food, while transforming the healthcare system by increasing access and quality of health care services and preventive care. Vital Brooklyn will also create a stronger, more sustainable Central Brooklyn by prioritizing strategic investments in resiliency and affordable housing, as well as job creation, youth development, and community violence prevention.
Mayor de Blasio, the Post noted, expressed "severe skepticism" in his weekly WNYC interview, saying that details are lacking. "I love it if it’s real, so ‘show us the money, show us the beef.’ Whatever phrase you want.”
The initiative, which Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat, held up as a national paradigm, comes at a time he is burnishing his credentials with a string of progressive moves that have stirred talk of a possible run for the presidency in 2020. It also comes as anti-poverty initiatives have all but dropped from the national political agenda.
Regarding housing, the plan is to "build 3,000+ new multi-family affordable housing units at six State-owned sites." Sounds impressive, especially compared to the 2,250 Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park units, but... it also depends on the level of affordability and the timeline.
It sure sounds like the open space plan is more meaningful than the 8 acres of open space (by 2025, at best) that's supposed to serve "Brooklyn"--but, rather, residents first--in Pacific Park:
- Eliminate the area’s “park deserts” by building green space and revitalizing athletic facilities within a 10 minute walk of every neighborhood
- Enhance amenities at more than a dozen community gardens and school yards to create public spaces for recreation and fitness
- Create more than five acres of recreation space at state-funded housing developments
- Improve and enhance existing recreational facilities through grant opportunities
- Add 7,600 new hires through the Brooklyn Unemployment Strikeforce, preparing the workforce to meet new market demand
- Expand Green City Force AmeriCorps program, providing NYCHA youth with higher-paying opportunities
- Train 1,200 people in the construction trades through the expanded Unemployed Workers Training Program
- Provide leadership, education, and job training skills to more than 300 students through CUNY’s Workforce Development Initiative
The $700 million capital investment in health care would help create a network of 36 ambulatory care centers, which would include partnerships with existing community-based providers. The health measures were designed, in part, to end the reliance on emergency room care.