Bed-Stuy, Cypress Hills, South Williamsburg Targeted
By Linda Collins
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
SOUTH WILLIAMSBURG â Several events are planned in the next two months as part of the new âBrooklyn Greensâ program, launched in August by the Brooklyn Community Foundation (BCF).
The three-year, $750,000 action plan is designed to guide three distinct Brooklyn communities in their efforts to implement sustainable practices toward broad environmental improvement.
The launching took place at a âCool Roofsâ painting event on the roof of a building at 106 Gerry St. in South Williamsburg â one of the three communities included in the program along with Bedford-Stuyvesant and Cypress Hills.
Working collaboratively with the Pratt Center for Community Development, three long-established community organizations in those three communities â El Puente, the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation and the Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation â will go forward to create a âgreen roadmapâ of replicable strategies and tools to be used across all of Brooklyn, and will include the development of green spaces, jobs and neighborhoods.
Of all five boroughs, Brooklyn has the highest number of public housing units, the lowest percentage of land devoted to parks, and an unemployment rate above 11 percent, according to Marilyn Gelber, president of the BCF.
She added that Bed-Stuy, Cypress Hills and South Williamsburg have the boroughâs highest rates of childrenâs emergency room visits for asthma, and Williamsburgâs childhood lead poisoning rates rank among the highest in the city.
âThe world looks to Brooklyn to set trends, and thereâs no trend more worthy of becoming a tradition than the push to make our communities greener and healthier, and to lessen our impact on the environment,â Gelber said. âBy promoting collective action and shared resources through this initiative, we ensure that the successful efforts of these three communities will benefit the entirety of Brooklyn, to make it a model of urban environmental improvement in years to come.â
The initiative, which will use customized approaches in each neighborhood, will be engaging young people and adults as well as community institutions.
The following are among the upcoming events:
â˘ Cypress Hills Local Development Corporationâs âHomeowner Fairâ on Saturday, Sept. 24 (contact Nuala Gallagher, firstname.lastname@example.org)
â˘ El Puenteâs community meetings on Monday Sept. 29 (contact Brenda Torres-Barreto, email@example.com)
â˘ Bed-Stuy Restorationâs âRestoration Rocksâ Saturday, Sept. 8 (contact Tracey L. Capers firstname.lastname@example.org)
â˘ Cypress Hillsâ âVerde Summitâ on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 21 and 22 (contact Nuala Gallagher email@example.com)
In addition to developing a long term action plan, Brooklyn Greens calls for the production of 480 energy efficient retrofitted homes, apartment buildings, facilities and small businesses; the construction of 130 units of new green residential housing; the training of 140 community residents in green collar jobs, with a minimum 50% placement rate; and the planting of 750 street trees and improvement of 12 neighborhood green spaces.
As part of the initiative, with the help of organizations like Community Environmental Center working under the cityâs âCoolRoofsâ program, community residents and volunteers across the three neighborhoods will be painting their buildingsâ roofs white.
âBrooklyn Greens will improve the quality of life and wellbeing for thousands of Brooklyn residents, many of whom suffer every day from community-wide environmental degradation and neglect,â added Gelber. âWe anticipate significant systemic change toward a greener, more beautiful Brooklyn.â
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ÂŠ Brooklyn Daily Eagle 2011
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