Community Meeting Scheduled For February 9 To Address Controversial Redevelopment Of 5th Avenue Key Food Parcel
Following the announcement last November that a residential project would replace the current Key Food at 120 5th Avenue (at Sterling Place), members of the Park Slope community have been vocal in their opposition to the developer’s current plans.
While the deal with developer Avery Hall Investments (AHI) may not close for another year, concerns by neighbors, politicians, and civic organizations focus on the potential loss of affordable groceries in the area (although the definition of what “affordable” means has also been a subject of great debate).
A highly anticipated community meeting about the development plans will take place next Tuesday, February 9 from 6:30pm-8:30pm at PS 133 – The William Butler School (610 Baltic St at 4th Avenue). Sponsors of the meeting encourage members of the public to attend.
A virtual “who’s who” of neighborhood organizations is responsible for putting the meeting together. The co-sponsors are Councilmember Brad Lander, the Fifth Avenue Committee, Park Slope Neighbors, Forth on Fourth (a Committee of the Park Slope Civic Council), the Fifth Avenue BID, Families United for Racial and Economic Equality (FUREE), along with Community Board 6, City Councilmember Steve Levin, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon, and State Senator Velmanette Montgomery.
In a statement released by his office, Councilmember Brad Lander says, “Like many of you, I am very concerned about the potential loss of yet another of the area’s large, more-affordable grocery stores. Together with local advocates, we’re doing everything we can to keep a neighborhood supermarket at this location.”
Lander also points out that the grocery store has played a significant role in the history of the neighborhood’s community organization:
“The Key Food itself is a result of community organizing in the 1970s and 1980s, when local leaders came together to transform the site into a neighborhood grocery store and 56 townhouses for moderate income home buyers and renters. This organizing is part of what helped to create the Fifth Avenue Committee. Today, the Key Food is one of the few remaining affordable supermarkets in the area.”
Grass-roots community organization began soon after the announcement. The ‘Save The Fifth Avenue Key Food’ Advocacy Group formed in December, with the goal to “keep affordable food for the community in the north Slope,” as stated on their change.org page.
Mary Kremem, spokesperson for the developer Avery Hall Investments, tells us “AHI looks forward to presenting a rental project that has many community benefits, including affordable housing and significant open space for the public at large. AHI is seriously evaluating incorporating a food market into the project based on the input they have received from the community.”
Kremen detailed the developer’s goals for the community meeting, explaining:
“The AHI team is looking forward to describing the various components of the project in detail and hearing reactions and recommendations from neighborhood residents. AHI believes that the community will conclude that the planned development will be highly contextual with the surrounding neighborhood’s architecture and scale and will provide shopping, dining and other retail opportunities that will be valued by our future residents and neighbors.”
Michelle de la Uz, Executive Director of the Fifth Avenue Committee, explains the primary goals of her organization, a primary co-sponsor of the community meeting. “[We want to] educate the public about the history of the site and how its unique status as an urban renewal site gives the public a role in any proposed changes to the site until 2021,” she says. “[We hope to] gain a better understanding about the public’s priorities for the site as part of any redevelopment plan and have the developer take those priorities into account into their redevelopment plan.
The Fifth Avenue Committee has released a document that details the historical significance of the Key Food parcel in the Park Slope neighborhood.
“From my perspective, while I would agree that there are elements of the proposed design that would be a plus in the neighborhood, the developers do not appear to understand the importance of an affordable and sizable community-oriented supermarket on the space,” says S.J. Avery, co-chair of Forth on Fourth Avenue (FOFA) — an advocacy group that’s part of the Park Slope Civic Council. “Nor do they seem to understand how a substantive supermarket could be an anchor for commercial activity at the space.”
Avery accentuates the importance of incorporating residents experience into the the development plan. “The local stake holders would like a new development to succeed – but the developers seem to be unwilling to take advantage of community knowledge about how to do that,” she says.
“Hopefully, the community meeting may help persuade the developers to listen more carefully to what we are saying.”
What: Community Meeting about Development Plans for Park Slope Key Food at 120 5th Avenue
Who: Open to the public
When:Tuesday February 9 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm
Where: PS 133 – The William Butler School (610 Baltic St at 4th Avenue)
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