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City must axe Fort Greene Park trees to make way for new life: Park steward

The Parks Department plans to take down 83 trees in the Fort Greene green space to make way for a paved plaza.
Brooklyn Paper
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These trees must die so that others may live!

The leader of a non-profit dedicated to maintaining Fort Greene Park came out in favor of a controversial scheme hatched by the Parks Department to chop down dozens of trees at the beloved green space, saying the trees targeted for destruction are preventing other, better plants from taking root.

“Its roots and canopy are so dense with the shade, that things don’t grow underneath it. So yes, we like trees, but these types of trees are not friendly to other types of plants and habitats,” said Rosamond Fletcher, the executive director of the Fort Greene Conservancy, a non-profit that works closely with the city on the park’s upkeep and for hosting events there.

The city wants to destroy a total of 83 trees, 52 to make way for a grand paved plaza at the Myrtle Avenue and St. Edwards Street corner of Fort Greene Park, and another 31 to accommodate a redesign the park near Myrtle Avenue and Washington Park.

But the plan hit a roadblock after local residents and environmentalists filed a lawsuit against the city in state Supreme Court in April, demanding officials conduct an environmental review of their plaza scheme to determine whether replacing trees with concrete paving would create a hot zone that could negatively affect surrounding wildlife.

But the idea that the Parks Department wants to replace a crop of trees with nothing but concrete is nonsense, according to Fletcher, who said the felled trees will be largely replaced by a so-called “understory garden” consisting of younger trees, shurbs, and ferns that will help prevent erosion and provide a better habitat for Brooklyn’s birds and bugs.

“They help other trees with their roots, they help with habitats for birds and pollinators and all of that good stuff,” she said. “When we think about the environmental health of the park, we’re not just thinking about the health of the trees, we’re thinking about everything.”

An attorney for the plaintiffs accused Fletcher of trying to help the city dodge a transparent environmental review, saying if the city was so interested in creating an ecological wonderland, their laywers might have mentioned the vaunted understory garden during oral arguments held last month.

“They’re just coming up with some rationale for what they’re doing and they keep thinking of reasons to support their position to not do an environmental review, which is untenable,” said Richard Lippes. “The undergrowth issue was never made by the Parks Department in their oral arguments.”

Instead, the city is really just interested in ramming through its chosen design regardless of the environmental hazards, according to Lippes, who noted a previous lawsuit regarding the plaza plan that revealed Parks Department claim that the trees were targeted due to poor health was a bald-faced lie.

“You’ve got mature trees that give excellent shade which cannot be replaced for 30-40 years if you plant new trees,” he said.

Reach reporter Kevin Duggan at (718) 260–2511 or by e-mail at kduggan@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @kduggan16.
Updated 1:17 pm, October 8, 2019
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Reasonable discourse

Senior says:
Why is New “better” then old? Ageism is alive and well!!!
Oct. 8, 9:47 am
We own Climate Change w/our actions from The earth says:
It's remarkable viewing the scrambling to justify the indefensible scheme for the Ft Greene Parks Without Borders. To give the benefit of the doubt to those who've been brainwashed with misinformation and are willing to abet the environmental consequences of the plan, one sees the Parks Dept and the Conservancy coming up with new plot lines every time the Dept of Parks rationale is disputed...by inconvenient facts! First it was the 'sickness' of the trees-an independent Arborist said they are just fine & the Parks Dept after a FOIL revealed they were slated to be 'offed' for 'redesign'! Then it was all about viewing the Monument-the tree canopy foliage is -um- in the way for an untainted view. Oh -but there's more- per the Parks Dept own statement to the press: "We have the responsibility to balance the benefits of development & tree preservation for the greater good of the community. While design-based tree removals are uncommon in our capital projects, they are necessary for this design. (Read between the lines-luxury buildings with their politician campaign funders-want that corner-adjacent to the NYCHA public housing-cleaned up). Now it's the desperate assertion cited in the above article introducing the "understory garden" as a comparable benefit when 58 tall canopied healthy trees are eviscerated...really? When the historic grassy mounds beloved by dancing kidoodles as their stage and costumed dogs competing on Halloween are leveled...honestly? But don't take my word for it...go to the website-link below -check out the videos...the facts...the lawsuits and yes, the community preference which wants the Parks Dept to get back to stewarding the health of the trees-not the urban planning redesigning attack that Commissioner Silver now owns. https://sites.google.com/view/fortgreeneparkrenovation/
Oct. 9, 12:18 pm
Franklin Ben Penny from Marine Park says:
Looks like someone wants to make way for yet another bike path. Those pedal pushers just want it all.
Oct. 9, 5:42 pm
Fiddle Faddle from Flatland says:
Park Trees were chopped down on Flatbush Avenue to erect a bike path off Prospect Park. It looks like that in Fort Greene the same thing is about to occur. Pedestrians and Park lovers should get their say too.
Oct. 9, 7:01 pm
Tree Hugger from Fort Greene says:
Wow! It took three years for the Understory Garden to emerge as a brand new reason for 83 trees to be axed and to install a 43-foot wide cement plaza. Any good horticulturist would tell Ms Fletcher that there are plants that survive in the shade. What is the excuse to remove the lush circle of plants that attract many pollinators that greet you near the Myrtle entrance to the park and turn it into a cement fountain? Under Story refers to rainforests. Can't wait for the tree frogs to emerge after cutting down 83 trees in the prime of their life. The lies just keep rolling out!
Oct. 9, 9:16 pm
Kenya Castro from Forte Greene says:
The park is a historical site and must be preserved. Cutting the trees down would destroy what the park is all about. The park is a gathering of family and friends coming together to celebrate their most precious moments. Let's keep this going by preserving our trees!!!!
Oct. 11, 1:42 am
Ellen from Fort Greene says:
There is no good reason to destroy 83 beautiful mature trees that currently support plenty of life under their canopy, other than what I see as a push for further gentrification in the area by the city/developers. I manage a garden business and can tell you, with some soil amendment and the right plant choices for shade and drought tolerance, the understory garden could be expanded for a tiny fraction of the cost of what is proposed as well as adding other amenities and improving the original masterful design of that area of the park without needlessly destroying some of its most valuable resources and disrupting the community.
Oct. 11, 5:25 am
Nubian Certified Arborist Mom from Fort Greene Park says:
A critical benefit of large trees is that the have the best impact in cleaning the air. "The State of the Air" report for 2019 produced by the American Lung Association ranks our NYC area as the 10th worse smog area in the USA. I raised my child in Downtown Brooklyn across the street from the park and he struggled with asthma as an infant. The seniors living next to the park are the next most vunerable population that struggles with asthma challenges and a new senior residence is being completed opposite the park on Myrtle Ave. Removing more than 50 of the 84 trees or a plaza at the Myrtle Ave and St. Edwards Street corner of the park is a poor public health decision. The right plant in the right place is a basic motto used in the study of forestry and landscape architecture. I have practiced in these fields for more than 30 years in NYC and started my studies in National Forests prior to this. I have worked as a science educator and the Fort Greene Conservancy and the Parks Department is "practicing" politics which is great for tourism and developers by removing this many trees and trying to balance out the increased erosion by adding shrubs and smalls trees as an inappropriate band aide. An environment impact review would bring to light the true benefits of adding more pavement to the redesign of the park than needed. So far as natural habitats are concerned, waterfronts and forest buffers are good fits for small shrubs and trees. The current landscape of high rises in this area of Brooklyn has resulted in a large failure of new street trees. The city is also currently battling the Emerald Ash Borer and at least 8 of the street trees on Myrtle Ave along the park are ash trees. These additional trees likely to decline and be added to the tree removal count during the planned park renovation. The math of the number of trees that will be lost due to this construction is way off since the installation of railing will trench roots. The Parks website notes in the Tree pit care feature that digging around shallow roots can cause damage to trees. There have been previous designs in the park were small shrubs and trees were added along the Fort Greene Place walkway and those plants had to be removed due to the crime events. Better to focus on making the entrance of the park more ADA complaint on Myrtle Ave and not reopen the wall on St. Edwards St. and fail again with erosion concerns. The water runoff management that the trees and the wall master there is being underrated so close the paved playground area. Native or non- native trees in the park and the perimeter are critical in a park with barbequing and seasonal noisy events that impact adjacent residents when less local park visitors and tourist experience a limited impact on their quality of life. I know we are in the home of the New York minute but the Conservancy and Parks needs to take the higher ground and practice good park design revisit the environmental review.
Oct. 11, 5:36 am
Fort Greene neighbor from Fort Greene says:
We love the trees and our park. It’s excellent and doesn’t need to be changed. The shade they provide is needed in the summer. It also seems like they want to eliminate shade from the side of the park closer to the projects. If they want to plant more ferns and “understory” they can do that on the other side of the park where there is already open space. Stop trying to make excuses for removing these trees. They have survived for so long. Why should we kill them!!
Oct. 11, 6:12 am
Donald Loggins from Flatbush says:
There is no reason to kill 83 healthy trees other then they do not fit into the administration’s plan for the Park. The city has been providing fake justifications from the beginning to justify killing healthy trees.
Oct. 11, 6:51 am
Confused from Fort Greene says:
How in the world do you create an "understory garden" on a cement plaza? That's the dumbest excuse to cut down these trees that I've heard yet.
Oct. 11, 7:40 am
Boris from Bay Ridge says:
I find it hard to believe that any licensed horticulturist or arborist would recommend cutting down all the mature trees because they are "not friendly to other types of plants and habitats." This is specious "reasoning" since there are literally hundreds of plants, bushes and shrubs that thrive in shade. NYC already is a massive concrete jungle, and destroying mature vegetative life to install more concrete (literally) is nauseating.
Oct. 11, 8:38 am
Jane from Crown Heights says:
Why is Brooklyn markedly cooler than Manhattan on a summer day? The ratio of concrete to shade trees is a big factor. And what else makes it easier to breath on those sullen summer days? The work those trees do in turning carbon dioxide into more oxygen for us to breath. I am fortunate to live near Prospect Park where I can stroll under a tall cool canopy, give my feet and my dog's paws a break from the hot, hard pavement and feel some relief. It is a bit of a walk to do so but it is always worth it. The Parks Department is wrong to take that experience away from the Fort Greene neighborhood. Less trees and more concrete is not what Brooklyn needs. Between the push for rezoning for 40 story buildings in residential areas and projects like this it seems some people have an interest in Brooklyn becoming more like Manhattan and that interest has more to do with money than the quality of life here.
Oct. 11, 9:26 am
Julia Lautard from Fort Greene says:
Scientists are crystal clear: Trees are out best weapon against catastropphic climate change. Knowing this, cutting down trees so a few can make a huge profit, is the equivalent of selling tobacco at a cancer clinic. This opaque plan is, at best, shameful.
Oct. 11, 10:07 am
Louise Lawler from Clinton Hill says:
I agree with this statement "What we don’t want is for our refuge to be replaced by a concrete grandiose entryway suitable only for commercial purposes and skateboarding. " There is plenty of commerce around the park. The park is a refuge. The trees are an important component to maintain and enjoy.
Oct. 11, 10:08 am
Viola Sororia from Flatbush says:
Trees do allow for other plants to grow underneath them. During a walk through the woods you'd see plants that thrive in the shade. Mature trees are also wonderful for soil erosion, shade provision, and wildlife habitat. A garden can easily be planted among the trees. And if erosion were truly a concern they'd get rid of turf lawn because water rolls right off it.
Oct. 11, 11:35 am
Viola Sororia from Flatbush says:
Trees do allow other plants to grow beneath. A walk in the woods would show wildflowers and ferns that do well on the forest floor, in the shade of trees. And mature trees provide erosion control, shade, wildlife habitat. A garden for pollinators could easily be planted without cutting anything down. As for erosion, the true culprit is turf lawn which is like macadam, water rolls right off it.
Oct. 11, 11:38 am
Erin from Clinton Hill says:
Brooklyn has precious few mature trees at this scale and concentration, so I would love a solution that maintains as many as possible. We have a lot of paved spaces (even at the top of these stairs) and a lot of immature street trees, so adding an additional plaza with small trees isn't adding a lot of value to the park. The scale and shade of these trees is precious.
Oct. 11, 12:16 pm
M.C. from Brooklyn says:
I don't believe Rosamond. It's not a credible argument. Speaking as a seasoned gardener there are tons of plants that will grow under the shade of these giant trees. Ferns, shrubs, all variety of ground cover. I think she's lying, but I have to wonder why. As well, the Parks Without Borders program is just not a very exciting idea. Some of the historic fencing around the parks is really pretty, classic, and old New York looking. Leave it alone. Go build new parks if you want to try something different. Don't break what works fine.
Oct. 11, 3:40 pm
Julia from Clinton Hill from Clinton Hill says:
Trees are our best weapon against climate change and good air quality. To cut down healthy trees in order to make e profit is equivalent to selling cigarettes at a cancer clinic. Think about it.
Oct. 11, 3:45 pm
Tree Hugger from Fort Greene says:
There are many tools that Parks Dept can use to evaluate trees- i-Trees Canopy, iTree ECO, iTree Landscape. But Parks has not done one study into the value of the trees in the park. Not One! On the Parks website you can find a valuation of every street tree in terms of their environmental value and economic value. Information from the many FOILs show that not one study on any environmental issue for FG Park has been done. The killing of 83 trees should be criminal. In fact, if a person removes a street tree without a permit they receive a very large fine. Mitchell Silver and his idiotic Parks Without Borders plan needs to be removed. Tell Mitch that we want a border between the street and our park. Mitchell.Silver@parks.nyc.gov
Oct. 11, 4:17 pm
Soleil from Clinton Hill says:
As a trained ecologist it is ridiculous to hear an argument that says the trees block an understory from flourishing. The only thing that blocks an understory is poorly kept soil or an inhospitable pH. I guess that Ms Fletcher never learned about shade tolerant plants, which makes me question why she has any authority in the first place.
Oct. 11, 5:03 pm
Violet from Crown Heights says:
We know what Walt Whitman would say. He didn't write Boulevard of Concrete. Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver did.
Oct. 11, 6:31 pm
parks not plazas from Fort Greene says:
The previous Conservancy head, Charles Jarden, and other Conservancy members made it clear that they wanted the $10.5M and that the money was tied to acceptance of this plan. Perhaps the community's opposition to the redesign drove the Conservancy to hiring someone they think is a bigger gun? See her bio: https://www.sps.nyu.edu/professional-pathways/faculty/17601-rosamond-fletcher-craven.html She is not a parks person, she is a design and architecture advocate, like Commissioner Silver. Remember, Conservancies are like BIDs, supported by private funding and partnerships with RE developers and landlords. Ms Fletcher has honed her spin skills through her experience and that is evident in her spiel on the park. Who is really fooled by her new justifications for the redesign?
Oct. 11, 9:38 pm
UrbanMole from Brooklyn says:
It is no surprise that we hear this nonsense from the Fort Green Conservancy. "Rosamond Fletcher, the executive director of the Fort Greene Conservancy, a non-profit that works closely with the city on the park’s upkeep and for hosting events there". Heres the sin. All though seemingly an independent group Rosamond and her group are the recipient of significant operating fund dollars from the City of NY (and likely from NYC Parks) through grants or other mechanisms. Then of course she willingly performs the bidding for the entities that feed her- the Mayor and Comm Mitchel Silvers and their tree unfriendly urban forest denuding project.
Oct. 12, 5:21 am
Rita Freed from Bronx says:
The cut-and-pave attack on nature in Ft. Greene Park is part of a CITYWIDE PATTERN: Parks Dept. will cut the trees and pave over the unique wetland Putnam Nature Trail in Van Cortlandt Park, Bronx, for "access." They plan to bury the East River Park under landfill and astroturf for "resilience." With different excuses, in each case a working class community's environmental rights are being trashed amid real estate pressures. Nature is our most basic common good. But for the Parks Dept. it's just a resource to pave and monetize through public-private "partnerships," promoting gentrification. Nature, our most crucial line of defense against climate catastrophe, has NO city agency to defend it. We must demand: Nature: Save it, don't pave it! And we the working people DO have the power to back this demand with a united citywide fight for Nature and all our social needs.
Oct. 12, 2:40 pm
Harre' Krispes from Gerritsen Beach says:
Harre' Says, "Trees saves lives." Bike Paths Don't. Stop DOT ,TA and deBlasio now."
Oct. 13, 11:14 am
Fiddle Faddle from Flatlands says:
deBlasio is a hypocrite . Trees save the environment. Save the Planet. Plant Trees . Don't destroy them.
Oct. 13, 11:24 am
Jeff from Clinton Hil says:
A great design can work around these trees. So if the design they have cannot then it is not good enough. Time to rework it or abandon it.
Oct. 13, 11:30 am
James Golden from Fort Greene says:
I'm totally opposed to the Parks Departments ill-conceived plan to destroy so much of Fort Greene Park. The proposed plaza is totally antithetical to what Olmsted wanted to achieve in his park designs. (Yet another reason for the environmental studies that were not done.) He wanted to create refuges from busy city life, not broad stone plazas to make parks more like the sterile streets of the city. And the defense that trees need to be cut to add understory plantings is a joke; the NYC Parks Department is widely known for being unable to do good planting design, and they have a long record of being unable to maintain anything they install. And the destruction of the mounds, among the few remaining works by a great American landscape architect, A.E. Bye, is a desecration. We will lose a part of our culture and history that we will never recover. I'm absolutely appalled that the Fort Greene Parks Conservancy is supporting this permanently destructive project. They do not know what they are doing.
Oct. 14, 8:18 am
Lea from Fort Greene says:
The mature trees in the rest of the park do not impede the planting of shrubs, ferns and flowers. Why is it just the designated for destruction trees that are accused of this? Please abandon this foolish plan and work with the mature trees. New soil and a new perspective will heal this area — not asphalt and the death of our friends and allies, the trees.
Oct. 14, 12:23 pm
Jennifer from Cobble Hill says:
What is not mentioned in this article is the species of tree she is referring to; the Norway Maple. Please look up the information about this tree. Here is some info... From WIKI... The Norway maple was introduced to northeastern North America between 1750 and 1760 as an ornamental shade tree. It was brought to the Pacific Northwest in the 1870s. The roots of Norway maples grow very close to the ground surface, starving other plants of moisture. For example, lawn grass (and even weeds) will usually not grow well beneath a Norway maple, but English Ivy, with its minimal rooting needs, may thrive. In addition, the dense canopy of Norway maples can inhibit understory growth. Some have suggested Norway maples may also release chemicals to discourage undergrowth, although this claim is controversial. A. platanoides has been shown to inhibit the growth of native saplings as a canopy tree or as a sapling. The Norway maple also suffers less herbivory than the sugar maple, allowing it to gain a competitive advantage against the latter species. From New York Invasive Species Information.... Forests that are intact are generally more likely to ward off invaders. However, Norway maple has been found to be very successful at establishing itself in a variety of conditions including mature, deeply shaded forests (Martin and Marks 2006). Due to the dense canopy of Norway maples, forest diversity is starting to decline because the excess shade they create inhibits the regeneration of sugar maples and other native seedlings. The shallow root system makes growing difficult for other native shrubs and wildflowers in the understory. In urban environments, the root systems also destroy pavement, requiring expensive repairs. Other species of flora and fauna, such as insects and birds, may indirectly be affected due to the change in resource diversity and availability. Norway maple is also susceptible to certain types of fungi, such as Verticillium wilt and anthracnose and may also serve as a host for aphids. There is a lot of additional information readily available. I hope this is helpful.
Oct. 14, 3:44 pm
Madelon from Fort Greene says:
The Fort Greene Park Conservancy's reasoning for chopping down dozens of mature trees to purportedly maintain the "understory" is preposterous and backward. I do not comprehend how this group of people who pretend to care about the park can take this position. Shade is precisely what park-goers and residents are seeking when they go to Fort Greene park. The redesign of the park that includes installing a huge cement plaza on Myrtle in place of the trees will dramatically reduce the available greenspace and shade which seniors, children, basketball players, parents, barbecue-goers, and residents currently enjoy. The whole Parks Without Borders is ill-conceived. Sure, NYers want more access to parks. Do this by expanding greenspace out, don't pour concrete in to make a road and plaza that is only fit for commercial use.
Oct. 14, 9:13 pm
Ling from Fort Greene says:
1. The majority of the trees Parks planned for removal are NOT Norway Maples. Only 27 trees are Norway Maples-- less than half of the 58 trees to be removed for the proposed plaza. The other 31 trees at the northwest corner are London Plane, Honeylocust, Cherry, and Zelkova trees. The number is based on NYC Parks' own Forestry report residents obtained by FOIL. 2. Norway Maples are "regulated species" -- regulated, not prohibited according to a New York State DEC (Dept of Environmental Conservation) report. As a regulated species, Norway Maples gives good shade at the Myrtle and St. Edwards street corner, not a threat in a controlled urban environment. 3. Norway Maples are not invasive species. Even for invasive species, removing them is not a priority of the Parks Department. Here is the quote of NYC Parks Forestry commissioner on invasive species. "We are not so worried about it. We don't plant it on purpose...If it's growing in a place that's threatening other trees that we prefer then we would try to control it.... It's not my top priority. It's not my biggest worry.... there are other, greater threat..." The rationale to remove healthy trees continues to contradict with facts from NYC Parks and other environmental agencies. All the reports from the agencies can be found here: https://sites.google.com/view/fortgreeneparkrenovation/trees
Oct. 14, 10:43 pm
Meghan from Fort Greene says:
Another voice in opposition! Agree with the comment above that a good design can work with the trees, which do so much good, clean the air, and provide the neighborhood with respite and beauty. There seems to be strong opposition to this plan -- how does this reflect the needs and desires of the community?
Oct. 15, 10:18 am
Naomi Zurcher from Brooklyn Heights says:
The trees slated for removal are healthy urban-tolerant shade trees. They have not reached the point where the services the afford the community are in decline. They are also not invasive - a false statement perpetrated by Parks' interest in gaining support for it's ill-gotten plan. Not only has the Fort Greene community come out against the design, the design itself is not true to the original mission of the Parks Without Borders program. This program was never intended to showcase a monument from as far away as China. It was designed to make a Park more community-inclusive. Violating the program mission as well as Climate Change tenets Parks' claims they subscribe to is unacceptable in the best of worlds and completely intolerable in the world in which we currently find ourselves in. The Parks' Capital division has never cared about trees and that is completely evident in the unfortunate and destructive design that has been put forward, glorifying a monument instead of caring about the land, the trees and residents' well-being. PARKS - It's time to support the Community's wishes, give up the abusive and Climate unfriendly design and retain the brilliant, community-friendly design of Olmstead and A. E. Bye.
Oct. 15, 10:54 am
Susan Woods from Fort Greene says:
The Fort Greene park does need help and work to improve the drainage and to take into account the growing number of people and dogs which take advantage of this gorgeous place for relaxation and recreation. The plan to overturn the current entrance is fraught with many problems, issues, and, probably abuse of power. One can improve this entrance without cutting down the trees which line the walkway. I am not sure which other trees are in the list for felling. The shade that these trees offer are also areas for peace, relaxation, get-togethers for residencies. The preservation of this historic landscape would also keep the serenity and the naturalness that an urban respite needs. There are certainly ways to clean up the brick work, to create the proper drainage, to repair the steps, the mounds,and to modernize all without taking away the current trees, which are not all "sick" or too old, as some are trying to say. Being modern might be to preserve rather than to rip up or out. Creating a grandiose entrance way might also be to enhance it by keeping the lovely trees that currently are incredibly beautiful and already there. One question is, who is making the most money out of this project and why? What a pity that the old fashioned way of filling pockets can not include a better idea of preservation rather than annihilation.
Oct. 16, 9:40 am
Toni from Fort Greene says:
Only some a few of the trees to be removed are Norway Maples. It should be clarified what it means when Norway Maples are called Invasive. These trees have been long naturalized in the USA, and were popular for their quick and easy growing habits and for their shade. Now they are generally not recommended for these same reasons, meaning that they are aggressive and can out compete native trees. That could be a problem in a forest or a meadow but not an issue in a controlled environment like a park where the trees have not been an issue for the last 40-50 years. Also, their dense shade and dense roots discourage herbaceous plants from growing around the tree. This is why they are not recommended for planting in a forest, where you would want to encourage a natural growth pattern. But in a controlled setting, like a city park or backyard, where maybe you might want a grove of trees and no undergrowth, they might be fine. In summary, Norway Maples are generally not planted anymore, but that does not mean that you should go out and remove a mature tree.
Oct. 16, 10:32 pm
K Mason from Fort Greene says:
The argument that cutting down 80+ mature trees and adding 13,000 square feet of concrete to Fort Greene Park doesn't require a full environmental review is intellectually dishonest and morally wrong. The environmental arguments are being made in comments above, in much more detail than I will even attempt. However, it's worth noting, that the City's plan is an assault on the neighborhood's character and residents. It isn't a coincidence that the part of the park that will be destroyed is the same part that predominantly black Fort Greene residents (many who live in nearby public housing) use for BBQs, birthday parties, etc. It's the part where the kids use the playground and play basketball. The park belongs to the entire community, not just the people who move into and gentrify neighborhoods. Changes to the environment in the park will affect communities of color worst and first, so a failure to do the proper environmental reviews are not just environmentally nefarious, they are also racially nefarious. The Mayor and the City claim to support communities of color, but they are showing their true colors through the lack of transparency as they attempt to push these changes through.
Oct. 17, 1:12 pm
Save the Trees! from Fort Greene says:
Save the trees in Fort Greene Park! They are healthy and beautiful and we must preserve this landscape. What a terrible and shameful idea to replace this historic green space with cement.
Oct. 18, 12:03 pm
Patrick from Fort Greene says:
This arborcide is indefensible. Some contractors want to make a buck and some bureaucrats want to justify their construction budgets so they're robbing the neighborhood of a beautiful setting to create another asphalt monstrosity.
Oct. 18, 12:18 pm
Willem from Fort Greene says:
Save the trees! They are our friends!
Oct. 19, 5:51 pm
Linda Patterson from 11238 says:
We do not support the initiative that results in cutting down our trees. The trees are an asset to our our community.
Oct. 20, 10:36 pm
DK Holland from Fort Greene says:
I visit Fort Greene Park 3 times a week. I find it an amazing respite for ALL. Its wonderfully diverse on any day. Many of these angry comments seem to lack background: a misunderstanding of A) the original design of the park and B) the poor conditions on Myrtle/Edwards that led Parks without Borders to propose renovation. I suggest taking a long look at https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/lpc/downloads/pdf/presentation-materials/20170919/LPC%20Ft%20Greene%20PWB%20LPC%20PRESENTATION-%209.14.17.pdf before making an informed and openminded judgement. As to the lack of undergrowth issue (ie the environment where trees and other plantings and wildlife thrive together) please come and look at the rest of the park which is mostly lush and very well planted. All this strum und drang has delayed any improvements for all those who enjoy the Myrtle/Edwards side of the park for years. We are all citizens taking advantage of our rights of free speech and we are entitled to our own (hopefully sound) opinions but not our own facts. Right? We are not entitled to spread disinformation by twisting facts and creating fake news. Hope you agree.
Oct. 22, 12:38 pm
Myrtle Wilson from Fort Greene says:
DK Holland. I wonder which statements you find false. You have made quite a few assumptions. To go so far as to accuse fellow community members of creating "fake news', basically lying, is unfounded. To assume these people have sub par knowledge to you, less valid opinions, less experience, that they have not examined the proposed project and most of all to claim that they have no idea of the condition of the north side of Fort Greene Park is offensive indeed. We could have it all. Repaired walkways and infrastructure, beautiful expanded plantings, majestic and life giving mature trees, more trees planted, more plants planted, but the Parks Department will absolutely not budge. They got 10 million dollars with a plan attached. They refuse to listen to so many community voices or to have even considered them in the first place. They have refused to consider the effect of the removal of 58 trees on the birds, bees, insects, any wildlife whatsoever, or the negative health effects on the community. I am in the park 1-2 times a day. I have been witnessing this process for 2 years. The lack of transparency on the part of the Parks Department has been appalling if not curious. I have witnessed the many twists and turns to continue to deny the community, their right to this public open space. It will take 50 years to replace the benefits of the healthy trees they have deemed need to come down. I have heard reason after reason born anew as to why these trees need to go. At the last court hearing the Park's lawyer stated that this was not a re-design requiring an environmental review but "standard park maintenance". Imagine that, the removal of 58 trees from the north side of the park, removal of historic unique structures, redesigning the entrance and imposing a 45 foot plaza on this predominantly pastoral park explained to a disbelieving judge as "standard maintenance". Were you there?
Oct. 24, 5:50 pm
Myrtle Wilson from Fort Greene says:
DK Holland maybe you should give examples of the "fake news" of which you speak.
Oct. 24, 9:28 pm
Ragnar Naess from Clinton Hill says:
The last two years of controversy have led meany of us to study in depth the history and various stages of St.Edwards/Myrtle corner of Ft. Greene Park. I believe 'borderless parks' is an oxymoron as well as a faulty planning overview. The multitude of diverse uses the present design and evolution of this corner would best be preserved by a thorough maintenance and repair project rather than the current Parks Department demolition and 'make new' proposal. A revision as proposed will reduce usage to primarily passage through, rather than recreating within. There will be not only environmental degradation from loss of trees and creation of hardscape, but change of use patterns and users. A study of Parks Dept. presentation as DK suggests above reveals the "Parks Without Borders" aesthetic: sight lines open in all directions; little or no 'interiority' to the envisioned 'new' schema; relatively intimate interior spaces nonexistent in a park which in its totality already has predominantly large open spaces. St. Edwards/Myrtle corner is presently a much more enclosed, inviting interior park with many smaller scale spaces. It definitely needs repair and upgrade of drainage, lighting, pavements and amenities. Our city has a history of grand gestures costing megabucks and much failure to adequately maintain established parks and public spaces. This is most obvious in how frequently beautiful new plantings wither and die simply from lack of water.(see much of he west side highway, for instance.) Pavements, benches, lighting and other amenities deteriorate less dramatically but just as surely in NYC. The Parks Department presentation is valuable for its pictorial history and clear presentation of the direction the proposed alterations will take. The vastly increased hard surfaced area framing the monument does not address neighborhood human needs. It looks more like the early images of the park before trees grew to mature heights. Viewing the monument from many places in the park is presently unimpeded. Such unimpeded sight lines from from Myrtle Avenue seems a bogus goal, however grand original designers thought their plaza and staircases were to be when trees then planted were small. Visitors to the park discovering the stairs and monument platform gradually on a walk through smaller, shaded paved walkways as now exist is pleasing and dramatic. Meanwhile these spaces with the rhythm of the repeated mounds are inviting to play, picnicking and other much desired recreational use, particularly in warm weather when most of the nearby residents enjoy this corner of the park as an extension of personal living spaces nearby. It is hard not to believe so called 'security' rationales, political patronage contracts and class issues are not the prime movers in turning this human scale collection of spaces into a ecologically and community hostile hardscape environment. Parks by definition are boundaried to offer sequestered refreshment and relief from the city's relentless hard surfaced streets and walkways. I would love to see those $missions put into maintenance and repair which can allow trees and neighbors continued enjoyment of a very fine urban retreat.
Oct. 24, 10:30 pm

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