Earlier this week, the Brooklyn Public Library’s controversial plan to raise funds by selling off its Pacific Street branch suffered a serious setback. As a condition of City Council approval for the nearby BAM South development, the future of the branch will now be determined via a potentially-lengthy community planning process. And though the process doesn’t necessarily preclude a sell-off (the branch is still slated to be replaced by a 16,500-square-foot space in the BAM South development)—it at least leaves open the possibility of salvation.
But with the Pacific Street sale off the table for now, the Brooklyn Public Library is wasting no time in moving forward with its other sell-off plans. Today, it put out a request for proposals seeking redevelopment partners for the Brooklyn Heights branch at 280 Cadman Plaza West.
These last few years have been challenging ones for both the New York and Brooklyn public libraries. Anemic funding and dwindling resources have collided not only with the need to repair many aging structures, but also to retrofit them to meet changing technology requirements. The combination of lean budgets and growing needs have, without a doubt, created a mounting financial crisis.
The question is how to fix it. For the libraries, one of the more popular strategies of late has been selling buildings and land to developers in exchange for some cash and a space in the condo tower that will be built on the parcel. Recently, plans to sell two libraries in Brooklyn have stirred up controversy, with local residents protesting that the sales are a bad deal for both taxpayers and library patrons.
The City of New York, like many other large landowners, has been selling its land for centuries. However, these last few months have brought what many consider to be a disconcerting flurry of real estate transactions as the city, citing a cash crunch, moves to sell off a number of schools, libraries and municipal buildings.
The city and others have lauded the sell-off as a way to bring much-needed monies to institutions that are in dire need of help. Trading in valuable real estate, we are told, will keep the city’s civic institutions afloat. If only it didn’t have the vaguely desperate vibe of a pawn shop swap.
In a competition for preservation cash, four historic sites have proved themselves most beloved—at least among the social media savvy—netting the most popular votes in a battle that spanned five boroughs and 40 historic sites.
Two of the winners—the Brooklyn Public Library and Congregation Beth Elohim—are in Park Slope, which is quite a coup, especially coming on the heels of the much-expanded historic district, for the neighborhood that everyone loves to hate.
"It’s not like libraries are over-funded!" said Soledad O’Brien, master of ceremonies for the 12th annual fundraising gala for the Brooklyn Public Library on Thursday. "It’s not like, ‘Trim the fat off those libraries!’ Those are cuts that are going to be very much felt."
Ms. O’Brien was drinking a glass of water in Read More
Plug your ears, Mr. Carnegie.
The Atlantic Yards Draft Environmental Impact Statement finds that the Pacific Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library would:
experience significant adverse impacts from noise associated with the Site 5 construction activities between 2007 and 2009, including demolition, utility work, and above-ground construction of structures. The thresholds in the 2001 Read More