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The Gowanus Canal Conservancy is set to host a public meeting on April 21, at which landscape architecture firm dLandstudio will present plans for a proposed “Sponge Park” along the Gowanus Canal.

The Gowanus Canal area is a hotbed of new development plans, including a residential complex by Toll Brothers and another at Public Place (which we learned today will be developed by Hudson Companies). As such, many neighbors are thinking about the impacts of new development, and about how the canal’s pollution problem will be addressed. According to the Conservancy, the idea is for the park to be “beautiful” while simultaneously addressing the CSO (combined sewage overflow) problem (hence the name “Sponge Park”). According to Gowanus Lounge, “The land involved is currently a Verizon parking lot and the ‘Gowanus Village’ property owned by developer Shaya Boymelgreen that has been put back on the market for $20 million.” Nothing in the Conservancy’s release addressed how this land will be obtained for public use.

Those interested can find out more at the meeting, April 21, 2008 at 6:30 p.m., at P.S. 58 (330 Smith Street, corner of Carroll Street).

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Good news seems so rare these days, so we are happy to report that The New York State Siting Board has voted unanimously to dismiss TransGas’ proposal to construct a power plant on the Greenpoint-Williamsburg waterfront.  The Board found that the power plant was not in the public interest, and this ruling clears the way for the City to move forward with its proposed 28-acre Bushwick Inlet Park.

Congrats are in order for Task Force members GWAPP and NAG, who have been fighting the power plant for the last seven years (!).  Thanks also to our readers who recently signed their online petition.

Bushwick Inlet Park rendering via Brooklyn Paper

Park Slope’s JJ Byrne Park is in the process of a redesign by the Parks Department. According to Metro: “Plans for the Fourth Avenue side are underway. The first phase includes a $1.6 million upgrade for new handball and basketball courts, a skateboard area and a dog run that is expected to be completed by spring. It was funded by developer Shaya Boymelgreen for having used the park as a construction staging area. In the $2 million second phase, funded by City Council and Borough Hall, the asphalt courts are being replaced by a large synthetic turf field by 2009.”

Tonight and tomorrow, the Parks Dept. asks the community to “develop the concept” for the park’s renovations. The Old Stone House (an historic structure located within the park), will host, “facilitated session(s) to discuss conceptual plans for renovating the 5th Avenue aspect of JJ Byrne Park.” Friday, 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

UPDATE: A second meeting has been added – 7pm, Tuesday, January 22.  RSVP via email or 718-768-3195 by Monday.

Photo of the Old Stone House via Flatbush Gardner

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