On July 20, Mayor Mike Bloomberg announced a $270 million investment to revitalize the Sunset Park waterfront. The Sunset Park Waterfront Vision Plan (pdf) aims to create thousands of jobs by promoting industrial activity and to improve the quality of life for community residents.
The waterfront’s piers, terminals, and rail yards have been in disrepair for decades. Projects in the plan include modernizing the aging maritime and industrial infrastructure, re-activate vacant or underutilized space, attracting green and environmentally sustainable businesses and creating local, blue-collar job opportunities.
According to the Vision Plan, the projects will provide an enormous jolt to the neighborhood’s economy:
The short-term recommendations alone have the potential to create or induce 5,000 jobs in Sunset Park, and defer as many as 19,500 annual regional truck trips (53 trips/day) and 1,000 tons of CO2 emissions. Implementation of the full Vision Plan could result in the creation or inducement of approximately 11,000 jobs, the elimination of over 70,000 annual regional truck trips and 5,000 tons of CO2 emissions, as well as the activation of approximately 3.5 million square feet of industrial space for job-generating uses.
In addition to stimulating the economy, the plan will add a new 22-acre park at the Bush Terminal Piers, effectively doubling the amount of green space in Sunset Park. The park will provide access to the waterfront for residents of a neighborhood that is currently cut off from the water by the Gowanus Expressway and commercial developments through new pedestrian walkways, as well as “key corridors” at 35th, 43rd, 51st and 58th streets. Rezoning the section to the east of the industrial area will help preserve and encourage the creation of affordable housing.
The Sunset Park-based Southwest Brooklyn Industrial Development Corporation (SBIDC) and Community Board 7 played key roles in the development of the Vision Plan.