Last Thursday, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul and Brooklyn elected officials gathered at the Brooklyn Navy Yard to announce the projects, which they say will revitalize the local economy and create opportunities for the area.
“With funding from the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, significant projects to improve walkability and safety will better connect Downtown Brooklyn and the Navy Yard to surrounding neighborhoods,” Hochul said. “These efforts will help to improve quality of life and advance momentum for continued investment and growth.”
The first project is to improve streetscapes and pedestrian safety along the Tillary Street, Navy Street and Park Avenue corridors. The goal, officials said, is to reconnect the Navy Yard and Downtown Brooklyn with DUMBO, the BAM Cultural District and other destinations.
There will be safer pedestrian crossings along St. Edwards Street, as well as improved traffic configurations, wayfinding signs, bike lanes, seating and planters.
The next project is to transform the Walt Whitman Library into a “modern community hub.” Officials envision a renovated and expanded program space that can be used for job training and community programming.
The interior of the 7,000-square-foot facility will be demolished, the circulation desk will be relocated, the floors will be replaced and the furniture will be upgraded.
Other improvements include upgrading the electrical infrastructure, redoing the children and teen rooms and a new mezzanine space.
The initiative will also fund upgrades to Commodore Barry Park, Brooklyn’s oldest neighborhood park, such as improved access and modern play spaces.
In the Fort Greene area, officials will transform the Ingersoll Community Center into a multi-purpose conference space, equipped with a digital lab and rooms for job readiness and arts programming. The funding includes new computer equipment and furniture.
At the Navy Yard, the Cumberland Street Gate will be reconstructed to improve sight lines, enable better access and create a safer environment for pedestrians.
Finally, the last project is creating a public art and placemaking fund. The grant program will focus on creating new opportunities for local artists and cultural organizations to expand their reach to residents, workers and visitors.
Potential projects through the fund include large-scale artwork, placemaking installations and ADA capital improvements to cultural spaces.
A group of municipal representatives, community leaders and private sector experts, called the Local Planning Committee, developed the projects as part of a Strategic Investment Plan.
“Downtown Brooklyn is a community that deserves and needs smart planning to ensure residents and businesses are welcome for generations,” said Councilman Stephen Levin. “These investments do just that.”
“The popularity of our borough must translate into prosperity for all Brooklynites,” added Borough President Eric Adams. “These investments will further that mission.”