Great News! F.R.O.G.G (Friends and Residents of the Gowanus Canal) have received $275,000.00 grant from the state to investigate the aquatic brownfield and upland brownfield contaminants in and around the canal. As so many public officials and developers are chomping at the bit to rezone so they can dig and construct along this canal, the timing on this could not be better.
Below is a a copy of the original proposal which outlines what is hoped to be achieved with this grant.
Gowanus Canal Corridor Aquatic Brownfield & Upland Brownfield Area
Brownfield Opportunity Areas Program Pre-Nomination Study
Friends of Community Board 6, Inc
Friends & Residents of Greater Gowanus
Brooklyn Community Board Six
Community Vision and Goals and Objectives.
The community vision is to realize a cleaner body of water no longer subject to contamination from combined sewer overflow (CSO) events. Natural run-off from adjacent properties some of which are brownfields and other pathways will also be investigated. BOA funding will enable us to further explore all contaminant pathways to develop a strategic plan for permanent, sustainable improvements to the ambient environmental quality of the Gowanus Canal and its environs. A remarkable amount of science and study materials have been underdevelopment on this study area for a number of years, studies produced on the city, state and federal levels. A cohesive community-driven plan, which put that science to use in order to achieve the primary goal of a clean waterway and sound environment, is still needed.
A goal of this proposed study is to develop plans that work towards a sustainable brownfield cleanup in the designated area; and to ensure that public money and tax incentives used for brownfield cleanup in the area not only achieve required cleanup levels, but maintain designated cleanup level for the proposed upland uses. While we have piecemeal information on water- and land-based contamination, we lack information on the dynamics of cross-contamination between the two.
After consideration of the aquatic brownfield contaminants and their impact on the banks and adjacent lands, the community could then look at a contextual approach to any development plans within this BOA, and suggest ways to enhance the region in a way that is consistent with the history of the Canal and its physical and natural properties, using science as a guide to what is possible and what is necessary for sustainable environmental cleanup.
Current development proposals in the area—presently under the state Brownfield Cleanup Area program-represent one aspect of the community’s view of the Canal and it corridor, yet competing development proposals do not accord with legal zoning and are inconsistent with the existing historical neighborhood character. At this time, such developments may restrict and/or eliminate all opportunity to address the extent of the aquatic brownfield conditions and run the risk of not being sustainable brownfield cleanup sites for the intended use, due to the unmitigated and ongoing surrounding contamination within the waterway.
While ideas regarding the development of the Canal vary among local groups and government agencies, current proposed development designs do not accord with legal zoning and are inconsistent with the existing historical neighborhood character. The BOA grant would allow us to address this issue, and also to harmonize growing constituency of interested parties, including residents, businesses, and environmental groups, to preserve the existing historical low-density neighborhood character, preserve and support maritime uses for properties adjacent to the waterway. Any revitalization strategies must also include and supplement current Department of Environmental Conservation efforts to clean the water and also the Army Corps of Engineers’ efforts to restore wetlands at various points along the banks of the Canal. We will also be able to consider building designs for possible commercial and residential development consistent with a “green district.”