From the Courier-Life:
Mill Basin residents say the city’s plan to expand a shopping center built atop protected marshlands near the foot of Flatbush Avenue is not going to happen without a fight — and some argued it shouldn’t happen at all.
At a Feb. 18 meeting intended to get the neighborhood’s take on its plans for the Four Sparrows Retail Center between Kings Plaza and the Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge, environmentalists and Walmart opponents joined forces to shoot down the project — making it clear that if the city and developer Forest City Ratner Companies want to replace the cherished wetlands with big box stores, there will be a war on two fronts.
• Front one: Environmentalists and bird watchers want to prevent any development at the site, claiming that construction will destroy a borough treasure — a priceless city-owned wetland.
“The city says it wants to build something fabulous [on the wetlands],” nature lover Vivian Carter told residents attending the hearing at Kings Plaza. “But we have something there already, thank you very much.”
• Front two: The battle over which store — we’re talking about Walmart, of course — will be housed in the new shopping center.
“We’re completely opposed to bringing in a big box store,” Assemblyman Alan Maisel (D–Marine Park) told city officials. “Local businesses in Marine Park and Mill Basin will go out of business with a big box store just down the street.”
Members of the Economic Development Corporation obviously hoped for positive feedback on the proposal to expand the small shopping strip to accommodate three more stores, more parking and more than 40 acres of parkland, but they got very little.
And it got ugly when the agency could not promise that a Walmart — either a controversial mega-store or one of the company’s newer, smaller versions — would pop up at the new center.
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