A diverse coalition of community groups,  good government groups, political organizations, and local clergy sent a letter (PDF) to Governor David Paterson today, asking that he deny the floundering, $4 billion Atlantic Yards development financial assistance from the $24.6 billion in federal stimulus money that will soon come to the aid of New York State and City.

Develop, Don’t Destroy Brooklyn, Council of Brooklyn Neighborhoods, NYPIRG Straphangers, and Good Jobs New York were among the 40 organizations and clergy who wrote, “The intent of the…’stimulus bill’ is to generate jobs and kick-start the economy, not to bail out projects which have been found to deaden economic growth, such as sports arenas.”

Despite confusion about whether the project is even eligible to receive stimulus funds, there’s no question that developer Bruce Ratner has been lobbying for a handout.  While the MTA has stated that AY is not on its priority list to receive funding, the Post reports that the project could still receive money directly though Governor Paterson.

In response, the community writes, “An arena on land obtained through the questionable use of eminent domain violates both sound planning processes and sound community economic development.”  The letter goes on to point out a few key facts:

  • Atlantic Yards is not “shovel-ready,” since Ratner does not own the land on which the development is planned;
  • The process by which the development proposal has proceeded violates provisions of the stimulus bill that require a transparent and competitive public bidding process; and
  • The development proposal already has the financial benefit of City, State and Federal subsidies estimated at around $1.5 – $2 billion.

For those interested in sending their own letter to Gov. Paterson, his contact information is available here.

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