Pier Watch

Last night, Brooklyn Community Board 6 held a public meeting with representatives from the Economic Development Corporation to discuss future plans for Piers 7 through 12 in Red Hook.

(The piers are located roughly in the center of Brooklyn’s much-hyped waterfront-renewal project, a map of which is posted to the left; the Brooklyn Bridge Park area is off the map to the north.)

According to E.D.C. executive vice president of infrastructure Kate Ascher, the city has begun the planning stages to develop the piers the site just north of the Atlantic Basin area where cruise ships, starting with the Queen Mary 2, will begin to dock in April.

“Tonight’s about a dialogue,” Ms. Ascher said. “This is a project I’m really excited about.” She said that the E.D.C. had “no specific plans” as of yet, and last night’s meeting would be the first of several to analyze what the neighborhood and area residents need from the piers, currently occupied by American Stevedore. She said that residents of the secluded and poorly accessible neighborhood need to figure out how much development they want.

“How many people do we want to come in from the outside?” she asked.

Ms. Ascher presented a timeline of the gradual conversion of the 1.1-mile-long, 120-acre area (both waterfront and upland) from industrial waterfront use to mixed maritime industrial and recreational marina uses:

–December 2005-January 2006: feedback on conceptual framework
–February 2006: planning development and marketing study
–April 2006: cruise-ship piers (11 and 12) in use
–Summer 2006: the uniform land-use review process
–Spring 2007: acquisition of Piers 7 to 9B
–2007 and on: maritime use of Piers 7 to 9B
–2007-09: development of uplands

Ms. Ascher welcomed suggestions from the public for uses of the waterfront, and fielded questions about how local business can begin to prepare for the piers’ increased use. The more popular suggestions were for a public boat slip, sewage and infrastructure repair (several people said that the prevalence of sewage and seafood stench would drive out any tourists debarking from the cruise ships), streetscape improvements and the removal and/or beautifying of area industries, especially the garbage-truck lot facing the ship terminal.

“I think that’s something we need to solve, not just work on, before the fancy people from the Queen Mary show up,” Ms. Ascher said jokingly.

-Matthew Grace Pier Watch