Downtown Brooklyn to undergo $10 million transformation

August 1, 2019 Scott Enman
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Downtown Brooklyn is set to undergo a massive transformation that will renovate critical cultural institutions, improve public spaces and better connect the surrounding neighborhoods as part of a $10 million award.

Funds from the Downtown Revitalization Initiative grant will go toward six projects announced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday:

  • A pedestrian crossing at Tillary and Navy streets will connect Commodore Barry Park and the Brooklyn Navy Yard with Downtown Brooklyn, DUMBO and the BAM Cultural District, areas that were disconnected by the construction of the BQE.
  • Improved accessibility and safer pedestrian streetscapes at the Navy Yard’s Cumberland Street Gate
  • Upgrades for several cultural centers, including the Walt Whitman Library in Fort Greene, which will undergo a massive renovation that will transform the space into a modern community hub
  • Commodore Barry Park — the oldest park in Brooklyn, created in 1836 — will receive better access and modern play spaces.
  •  A digital tech center for the Ingersoll Community Center to support job readiness and arts programs
  • The creation of a grant focused on public art and supporting local artists and cultural organizations. Once created, residents can except large-scale installations throughout Downtown Brooklyn and the surrounding neighborhoods.

“This investment reflects our commitment to Brooklyn’s continued growth and enhanced quality of life for residents and visitors alike,” Cuomo said. “Downtown Brooklyn’s transformation into a hub for culture, entertainment and economic opportunity is a remarkable success story, and the DRI will ensure that the trend continues.”

The $10 million award will help establish better connectivity between Downtown Brooklyn’s cultural institutions. Photo by Paul Frangipane

Downtown Brooklyn — already a cultural and tech hub and one of the borough’s most rapidly growing neighborhoods — received the award in October 2018, but the specific projects were only announced this week.

Downtown Brooklyn Partnership President Regina Myer applauded Cuomo, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul and the Regional Economic Development Council for investing in the projects, which she said will “improve the public realm and re-connect our neighborhoods.”

“Five years ago, we started working on a plan for the Brooklyn Strand, and this investment marks a major milestone in turning that vision in a reality,” Myer told the Brooklyn Eagle. “Walkability and green space are essential to the continued growth of the area and these planned improvements will provide a long-overdue connection from Downtown Brooklyn to the Brooklyn Navy Yard.”

The projects were selected following a Jan. 16 visioning workshop, during which the community helped shape plans — a process Borough President Eric Adams credits with ensuring equitable benefits from the $10 million.

“[The] community visioning process has also helped us produce projects that prioritize the arts, accessibility, and workforce development, as well as street safety for local residents crossing from their homes to job at the Brooklyn Navy Yard,” Adams said. “The popularity of our borough must translate into prosperity for all Brooklynites, and these investments will further that mission.”

Follow reporter Scott Enman on Twitter.

Update (5:27 p.m.): This article was updated with a quote from the borough president.

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  1. Clara West

    Photo of downtown Brooklyn fails to show that Fulton St. needs to be
    upgraded as well. Buses have no room to pickup passengers.
    Delivery trucks shouldn’t be permitted on Fulton.
    Either redirected to Livingston or widen that street!