Cobble Hill

Fortis to present plan for revamped park at former LICH site

Cobble Hill Association wary

January 30, 2019 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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Fortis Property Group will be presenting a redesign for one of several parks on the former Long Island College Hospital (LICH) complex in Cobble Hill at a meeting on Thursday, Feb. 7.

According to the 1995 agreement between LICH and the city establishing the parks, Fortis, which won the bid to redevelop the LICH campus after years of lawsuits and opposition, must get input from the public on its proposed redesign.

The park (“Henry Street III”) has traditionally been used as a “sitting” or passive park, as opposed to two parks across Henry Street, which are active playgrounds. It has been out of commission for much of the past two years during the development of 347 Henry St. (what Fortis has dubbed 5 River Park), according to the Cobble Hill Association, which is sponsoring the meeting.

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“We are always skeptical when it comes to Fortis Property Group,” CHA President Amy Breedlove told the Brooklyn Eagle on Wednesday.

“The past conduct that has gotten us to this public meeting speaks volumes in dealing with Fortis, not just for the CHA but also the city agencies, in this case Parks Department and the elected officials,” she added.

Breedlove said that CHA complained of park and playground maintenance issues at a Construction Period Task Force Meeting last year around October.

Most notable was the constant pooling of water in Henry Street III, she said.

“The issue was to be corrected after the closure during demolition of the former LICH buildings [at] 347 Henry St.,” Breedlove said. “In that same meeting Fortis informed the Parks Department and Councilmember [Brad] Lander that the park would again be closed for an extended period of 18 months or more for the erection of the new building. The questions were asked: why they did not have a plan for the remedy of the substructure or park floor, and why they continue to take away a public asset with no thought to fixing, maintaining or upgrading?”

The Parks Department has since asked for a bond of $25,000 and commitment to properly fixing and upgrading the park, she added.

CHA has also complained that Fortis has failed to replace damaged or missing play equipment in the playgrounds and fix protrusions in the play surface in the parks across the street from Henry Street III.

CHA has heard from members of the community “that they want to be able to read, meditate and relax or enjoy a meal in this space,” Breedlove said, adding that “green and lush plantings” would make the space feel “less like a park at the base of a large apartment building — which it will be — without losing any usable square footage for larger tables and comfortable seating.”

Fortis has placed a rendering of the re-envisioned park, at the northwest corner Henry and Pacific streets, on its sales website. However, any changes to Henry Street III, which remains public, must be done by the city with input from the public. This is the first meeting where Fortis is engaging the public on the design.

Next Thursday’s meeting will be conducted in a break-out session format in order to get public feedback, Breedlove said.

The meeting will take place at the Brooklyn Heights Montessori School (in Cobble Hill) in the Firehouse Theater, 9 Bergen St. (between Court Street and Boerum Place).


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