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Effort to create park on Brooklyn waterfront moves forward.

Brooklyn Bridge Park moved closer to reality as the Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation (BBPDC) designated a team to design a park on the sprawling waterfront site.

BBPDC has selected the master planning team of Urban Strategies as urban designer and Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc. as landscape architect. The firms have created parks and public spaces for civic celebration in cities across the United States and Europe in locations such as Paris, Toronto, Boston and St. Paul.

Joanne Witty, president of BBPDC, said "We chose these leading designers over numerous strong competitors for two reasons. First, we felt confident they could lead an open, inclusive process. Brooklyn Bridge Park will be built only if it meets the needs of the diverse communities that comprise the borough, city and region. We also selected these firms because they have the creative energy to solve complex problems of access, economics and aesthetics. They bring the imagination, vision and technical skills necessary to translate the communities' desire for recreational space into a world-class park."

The park, which will have the Brooklyn Bridge as its central focus, will be created on a site that extends from the Manhattan Bridge to Pier 5. Once completed, the effort will transform an underutilized stretch of waterfront into a vibrant urban riverfront.

"The challenge of designing a great public space on this site presents a tremendous opportunity to transform an underutilized waterfront into one of the most vibrant and dynamic riverfronts in the world," said Brooklyn-born Ken Greenberg, who is heading the effort for Urban Strategies.

"In a borough that is so starved for green space, this park will become known as one of the greatest recreational spaces in New York City, and will honor what is already one of the most historically important bridges in the world," concluded Greenberg.

Earlier this year, the BBPDC issued a request for proposals for master-planning teams. Twelve teams, comprised of urban designers and landscape architects from around the world, submitted proposals. The Urban Strategies and Michael Van Valkenburgh team was selected from six finalists that were interviewed by the BBPDC.

The state-funded Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation (formerly known as the Downtown Brooklyn Waterfront Local Development Corporation) was created last year to oversee an effort to reuse the downtown Brooklyn waterfront as a park. BBPDC's 15-member board of directors is comprised of representatives from various neighborhood organizations in communities along the waterfront, as well as appointees of the area's elected officials - Borough President Howard Golden, Representative Ed Towns, State Senator Martin Connor, State Assemblywoman Joan Millman, and City Councilman Ken Fisher. To date, $1.4 million in state funds has been secured by the area's state legislators for the planning process.
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Title Annotation:Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corp.'s designation of a team to design park
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Sep 22, 1999
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