Monday, November 7, 2011
$1M missing from Newtown Creek settlement money
From the Times Ledger:
The state Department of Environmental Conservation pledged to dish out $7 million in green projects to compensate for the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment plant’s role in polluting the waterway of the same name, and the winning suggestions were announced Friday.
The state budgeted $75,000 for one of two projects at St. Saviour’s, which is a lot where a church used to sit but where a developer is currently building warehouses. The project is about 1 percent of the total allocation money. But the DEC put it near the bottom of a list of other, more expensive projects that must be completed first, which means the money might dry up before St. Saviour’s’ number is even called.
The money — which pales in comparison to projects like a $3 million boathouse in Brooklyn and a $2 million park in Dutch Kills — would be used by the city to begin legal proceedings to acquire the land where the park would be built, known as the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure.
On Sept. 30, a group of 13 Queens lawmakers sent a letter to the DEC asking to release the funds before the final projects were selected from a list of 22 suggestions on how to use the money.
“The release of the funding is imperative, since delaying the start of ULURP further threatens the acquisition and increases the cost of the project,” the letter said.
On Friday they saw that the money had been set aside, but might never be released at all.
A spokesman from the DEC said the state finalized the projects in the order they were ranked by the community.
“The state’s review did not change how the projects are ranked, but provides an opportunity for the development of projects on the secondary list should funds become available after the priority list is exhausted,” said a DEC spokesman.
But the final ranking put St. Saviour’s fourth, not its current seventh.
Ok, so not only is it easy to prove that the DEC did not do what it said it did, but here's a list of the projects:
City Parks Foundation EBP Approval Letter 10-25-11
If the settlement was for $7M and the projects on the list add up to $6M, then WHO POCKETED $1M THAT WAS SUPPOSED TO GO TO PARK PROJECTS IN COMMUNITIES SURROUNDING THE CREEK? Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, the great reformer, actually approved this? Governor Andrew Cuomo, another great reformer, thinks this action by his DEC is just fine?
Why is a boathouse that the City doesn't want, that will be encouraging access to a Creek so contaminated that it's a Superfund site, entitled to 43% of the funds?
Well, why do you think? Of course, it's another development scheme.
Adam Perlmutter, aka the Secretary/co-founder of Open Space Alliance...one of those "public-private partnerships" you've been hearing so much about...was the attorney for developer George Klein back in 2004-2005 during the Greenpoint-Williamsburg rezone.
Isn't it interesting that this development is moving forward after Dewey Thompson of OSA, a Brooklyn CB1 member, got the boathouse he has been lobbying so hard for?
So, some non-profit is going to get $3M to build a contaminated boathouse to attract more yuppies to not-yet-built towers along the shore, and Maspeth is not getting $75,000 for a new park even though there should be more than enough money left in the DEC kitty to cover it and the Greenpoint Monitor Museum project listed in the second phase.
This stinks worse than Newtown Creek at low tide after a rainstorm.
I predict that the electeds representing Maspeth are going to sit back and allow this to happen. No one will demand an investigation about the missing million dollars and no one will press for the rest of the funding to be released. After all, they have D's after their names on the ballots and are incumbents, so they don't have to work too hard to get re-elected in this town.