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Willowtown Association

Brooklyn Heights, News

Willowtowners Fear Traffic Nightmares From Fieldhouse Crowds

June 29, 2012

Yesterday (Wednesday) evening the Fieldhouse road show continued in Willowtown, at a meeting arranged by the Willowtown Association and hosted by their President, Ben Bankson. The opening presentation was similar to that at St. Francis on Monday, except that Fieldhouse Executive Director Greg Brooks stressed even more–no doubt anticipating the questions he knew would come–that this was a meeting to hear concerns and get information from the community, not to offer answers. Also, the design portion of the presentation was handled by Jean Phifer (photo) of Thomas Phifer and Partners, instead of Greg Smith, of that firm.

Kate Collignon, of consultant HR&A Advisors, Inc., fielded the first volley of questions. The opening question was, what is the expected daily usage of the Fieldhouse? Ms. Collignon said there is no specific expectation at present; this will have to await information from local schools and other community organizations about their needs and desires. The next question was: How, then, can projections of traffic be made for the supplemental Environmental Impact Statement without full information about usage? Joralemon Street resident Frank Ciaccio said the issue of transportation needed to be addressed first. Others quickly seconded this, some noting that Joralemon between Hicks and Furman is already overburdened with auto (especially livery cab) traffic seeking a shortcut to the BQE. There was general agreement that the best solution to this problem was to block entrance to Furman Street from Joralemon. It was suggested that this could be done with retractable bollards that could be lowered to allow passage of emergency vehicles when needed. However, this would require assent of the City’s Department of Transportation, as well, perhaps, of other agencies.

Parking was also a concern. Some residents noted that parking in Willowtown had become more difficult since the playground on Pier 6 had opened, and anticipated its being much worse with the Fieldhouse. Ms. Collignon noted that one of the ways to encourage people to use mass transit instead of cars was to provide jitney service from nearby subway stations. Mr. Ciaccio suggested opening a tunnel from the Clark Street subway platform to Furman Street, which he said could be done at minimal cost.

One resident, noting Ms. Phifer’s emphasis on the lightness of her firm’s buildings, said she had spent a winter fostering a family of abandoned dogs in the the then derelict area where the Fieldhouse is to be constructed. She said the winter time she spent there showed the site to be extremely cold and windy, and she hoped that the architects, who were proud of their “light” buildings, would design something strong enough to withstand the weather. Ms. Phifer assured her that they would.

Source: Brooklyn Heights Blog

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Real Estate, Sports

Another Meeting on BBP Fieldhouse in Willowtown Wednesday

June 25, 2012

For those who can’t make the meeting tomorrow (Monday, June 25) evening at St. Francis College on the proposed Fieldhouse in Brooklyn Bridge Park, there will be another meeting on the same topic this Wednesday evening, June 27, starting at 7:30, at the Alfred T. White Center, 26 Willow Place. More details, supplied by Ben Bankson of the Willowtown Association, follow the jump.

The proposed construction of a public multi-purpose athletic and recreation center along Furman Street just north of Joralemon in Brooklyn Bridge Park to be called The Fieldhouse will be the subject of a special community meeting sponsored by the Willowtown Association on Wednesday evening, June 27, at 7:30 at the Alfred T. White Center on Willow Place.

Construction of the center will realize a feature of the park that to date was not possible because of financial restraints. Its estimated cost, $40 million, will be underwritten by Joshua P. Rechnitz, a Manhattan philanthropist. He is the founder and chairman of the nonprofit corporation, The New York City Fieldhouse, dedicated to “promoting healthy and sustainable living in our communities through recreational and competitive sports with an emphasis on competitive track cycling.” The donation is one of the largest ever made to a New York City park. Mr. Rechnitz will also underwrite any shortfalls in operating revenue incurred by the center for the first 10 years.

Speakers at the June 27 presentation will include Greg Brooks, newly named executive director of The New York City Fieldhouse Inc., and representatives of the donor and the architectural firm retained to design the center, Thomas Phifer and Partners.

The outmoded one-story warehouse building on the site of the proposed center was to remain as a storage and maintenance facility for the park. The Fieldhouse is to include space for these purposes along with a public boathouse and restrooms.

Photo: Jan VanderPutten for Playbill.

Source: Brooklyn Heights Blog

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