Central Brooklyn

Will Cuomo’s “Vital Brooklyn” Plan Gentrify Central Brooklyn?

Brownsville Academy High School via Google Maps

Governor Andrew Cuomo’s $1.4 billion dollar plan to help revitalize long-neglected parts of Central Brooklyn is raising concerns for some of the residents of the targeted areas.

Released on March 9, the plan, called “Vital Brooklyn,” targets the Bed-Stuy, Brownsville, Crown Heights, and East New York neighborhoods.

It would dedicate $700 million to healthcare, adding approximately 36 ambulatory care centers; $1.2 million to education; $800,000 to violence prevention; and $700,000 to job creation, creating 7,600 new jobs and training 1,200 people in construction work.

The plan also proposes to build 3,000 new affordable housing units and five acres of green/park space—though details on where these new developments will go were not revealed.

While the improvements are much-needed and long overdue, some residents are skeptical and concerned that the plan will encourage gentrification and force them out, according to a New York Times article.

However the Cuomo camp claims that “Vital Brooklyn” is anti-gentrification and designed to retain residents by creating more housing options and jobs for them, according to the Times.

At a heated Community Board 8 meeting Wednesday night, Crown Heights residents voiced their opposition to the opening of the district’s 20th homeless shelter next week at 1173 Bergen Street.

The new 104-bed senior men’s shelter is part of Mayor Bill De Blasio’s “Turning the Tide on Homelessness” plan.

The Mayor’s plan states that neighborhoods already containing most of the cluster sites housing the homeless, which includes Central Brooklyn, should expect new high-quality shelters to open in their communities as the City shuts down the cluster sites in these areas.

Protestors at Wednesday’s meeting argued that Crown Heights has more shelter beds than seven predominantly white neighborhoods in Brooklyn combined. Crown Heights currently has 1,779 shelter beds and Bed-Stuy has 1,527.

Frustrated residents noted that they have lost 2/3 of their hospitals and that 20% of the area’s schools are considered failing—issues that Cuomo’s plan should address.

Hopefully by working in tandem, the Governor’s and Mayor’s teams will be able to strike a healthy balance for all the Central Brooklyn communities.

 

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