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As the controversial Dock Street DUMBO project moves toward the final steps of the city rezoning process, opponents protested it in front of City Hall.
The Two Trees Management proposal for the site calls for an 18−story building about 70 feet from the nationally landmarked Brooklyn Bridge.
The project includes a 300−seat middle school, 365 residential units including 20 percent for low−income families, ground−floor neighborhood retail and off−street parking.
“To those who will decide, to those who have been entrusted with such responsibility, we say, leave well enough alone,” said Pulitzer Prize−winning author David McCullough, who has written extensively about the bridge.
The rally comes as the City Council is expected to make a final decision on the City Planning Commission’s recent call to green light the proposal with a few modifications on May 21.
These modifications include reducing the height to 170 feet from 183 feet. It also reduces the westernmost piece of the building on Water Street, which extends closer to the bridge and was proposed for 9 stories, to 75 feet.
The protest also included an open letter to Mayor Michael Bloomberg and opponents, led by the DUMBO Neighborhood Association, are lobbying City Council Speaker Christine Quinn to reject the proposal.
Other celebrities who have jumped in on the cause to oppose the project include Gabriel Byrne, of “The Usual Suspects” and HBO’s “In Treatment,” actors and actresses Helen Hunt, Gary Sinise, Ana Gasteyer and Skipp Sudduth, and filmmaker Ken Burns.
Proponents of the project including U.S. Rep. Ed Towns and City Council member Letitia James who have supported the project because of the affordable housing component and the school.
But Council member David Yassky, who represents the area, has steadfastly opposed the project.
“In the interest of preserving one of our nation’s most historic landmarks – the Brooklyn Bridge – and in the spirit of a renewed commitment to fiscal responsibility and transparency, it is critical that this project be rejected by the City Council,” said Yassky.
Yassky said while he has long fought for a desperately−needed middle school for downtown Brooklyn, the School Construction Authority has allocated $43 million for a school without undertaking a thorough analysis of the cost−effectiveness of other sites.
“The argument that this project is necessary because of its inclusion of a school in its design is merely a red herring intended to sell an unpopular project met with strong community opposition,” he said.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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