An awe-inspiring blue-ribbon panel has been named by Congressman Anthony Weiner and Senator Charles Schumer to address the future of Floyd Bennett Field, that huge Gateway National Recreation Area property on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn. This is an unprecedented effort to generate broad support, enthusiasm, and expertise for further revitalization strategies at the historic air field. Whether the panel will succeed with this task is unclear.
The panel is co-chaired by Marian Heiskell (formerly, Board of Directors of the N.Y. Times) and Deborah Shanley, Dean of the School of Education at Brooklyn College, and includes the usual types from Gateway and the Army Corps, plus luminaries like Jay Walder of the MTA; Pete Grannis, head of the State Dept. of Environmental Conservation; Cas Holloway, head of the NYC Dept. of Environmental Protection; Christopher Ward, Exec. Director of the Port Authority of NY & NJ; and both Borough Presidents under one roof. How rare to see them together–maybe Marty is giving Helen “borough president training lessons” to prepare for these sessions. Shanley can bring the chart paper and easel. In all seriousness, it looks like some arm-twisting was done to be sure that ALL the important federal, state and city decision-makers will be at the table for this effort. If this doesn’t work, nothing will…
The panel has to consider whether FBF should morph into a venue for all or only some of these activities: bird refuge, athletic fields, outdoor concerts, teacher training, aquaculture and other gardening uses, or none of the above? If so, where is the money going to come from? And what good is it if people can’t get there in reasonable fashion on public transit?
Floyd Bennett already performs many of these functions, and provides facilities for public agencies needing beaucoup space for things like training. With a panel this impressive, let’s hope the results are, too.
Two meetings are scheduled at which the public can add their 2 cents–Tuesday, September 21, from 6-8 p.m. (at FBF, Hanger 5), and on Monday, September 27, from 6-8 p.m. (at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center). Are you getting tired of public “listening sessions” on important subjects where you only get two minutes to speak? I get more air-time when I argue with my “ex”!
Listening Sessions of the Floyd Bennett Field Blue Ribbon Panel (choose your date and location):
Tues. Sept. 21, 6-8 p.m., Hanger 5, Floyd Bennett Field
Mon. Sept. 27, 6-8 p.m., JBay Wildlife Refuge Visitor Ctr.