The Q at Parkside

(for those for whom the Parkside Q is their hometrain)

News and Nonsense from the Brooklyn neighborhood of Lefferts and environs, or more specifically a neighborhood once known as Melrose Park. Sometimes called Lefferts Gardens. Or Prospect-Lefferts Gardens. Or PLG. Or North Flatbush. Or Caledonia (west of Ocean). Or West Pigtown. Across From Park Slope. Under Crown Heights. Near Drummer's Grove. The Side of the Park With the McDonalds. Jackie Robinson Town. Home of Lefferts Manor. West Wingate. Near Kings County Hospital. Or if you're coming from the airport in taxi, maybe just Flatbush is best.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Help Plan the Future of our Neighborhood: Sunday, November 18

It's been a long, long time since the PLG-SoCro-Pigtown-Weeksville-EastFlatbush neighborhood took a systematic look at itself. Is such a thing really necessary? Well, if we want the City to understand our priorities, then the answer is emphatically yes.

When you see big cool things happen around NYC, chances are it started with a plan, and that plan got the necessary approvals from the relevant agencies - Planning, Design, DOT, MTA etc. etc. Lots of times it was the Community Board that got it going. Sometimes a powerful pol coordinated the effort; sometimes he/she merely supported a community-led initiative. I know that all sounds very vague, but in the real world planning at this level changes the Williamsburg and DUMBO waterfronts, builds new developments, razes old dwellings, turns land over to civic groups, turns dead zones into gardens or plazas, installs bike lanes, eases congestion, delivers traffic calming, creates affordable housing, or takes parking lots at the corners of major intersections on big urban parks that have green metal trees on them across from the Wendy's and turns them into a striking plaza that welcomes folks to the neighborhood you live in. Okay, that last one wasn't exactly vague, but I suspect you know what I'm talking about.

Each community board is invited, by City charter, to submit a long-range plan for itself. It's called a 197a plan, because of its place in the charter, quite literally NYC's constitution. Once a neighborhood 197a plan is presented and accepted by the City, a blueprint exists that agencies, the Mayor and Council, the CB and its District Manager can refer to when making decisions and allocating money from the "capital budget" (the part of the budget for stuff, not personnel, that costs more than $35,000 and has a life span of five years or more, if you must know. Wonk.)

The 197a plan is probably the single best way to get the attention of the City's bureaucracy to the needs and dreams of a neighborhood.

So why is CB9's 197a plan, or attempt at a plan, nearly 20 years old? Because there hasn't been a real effort made to update it. Even if creating a new plan were ATTEMPTED, we'd learn a lot about what our neighborhood deems important. And so, the good folks at Community Board 9 bring you a forum designed specifically to address the big picture. Add your voice to the mayhem on November 18th at a specially designed community-wide meeting at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden (which is in CB9, as is the Central Library and Brooklyn Museum - yes, we gots lotsa the good stuff, even the Phat Albert's building, drool drool.) Pencil (remember those?) in the date. I'll post the flyer when it's ready.

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