House of Detention in Mothballs. Now What?

An informal “coalition” of organizations has been formed to deal with the very current issue of the future of the now-mothballed Brooklyn House of Detention (Boerum Place & Atlantic Avenue). Natalie Oster and Heloise Gruneberg represent the BHA, working with representatives from the Atlantic Avenue Betterment Association, Atlantic Avenue Local Development Corporation, Brooklyn Heights Association and the Cobble Hill Association. The coalition is seeking the support of all “civics” to sign on to this effort.

The first meeting of this group was held in early June and full agreement was reached to go forward. Candace Damon of the AALDC wrote the first draft of “talking points” which were distributed for comment and update. The plan is to use these points in the letters each organization would send (with their own viewpoint and concerns as part of their letter).

At our second meeting on June 18th, these points were further amended, and plans were made to involve elected officials in this effort, to share these points (when further updated) with all those from whom we are seeking support. The updated points were received by e-mail yesterday (6/25), and were distributed to each of the participants.

We enjoy the support of our Councilmember David Yassky, our Assemblywoman Joan Millman, our State Senator Martin Connor, our Congressman Ed Towns. In addition, we will expand our request for support to neighboring elected officials. The development community has expressed support for this effort. These avenues will be fully explored.

AABA has been dealing with the problems of the HOD for many years, and has achieved many improvements. The consultants for the Master Plan for Atlantic Avenue (AALDC) presented their “vision” for the Avenue last Saturday at the “Y”. The subject of the HOD was very much a focus of their presentation about the “gap” problem, and the planning for Boerum Place.

Meetings are scheduled for this week and next with those whose support we are seeking. We will keep the neighborhood updated as developments occur.

(June 25th, 2003)

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