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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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At our event on Monday, many audience members from Gowanus expressed their concerns about Toll Brothers’ planned development, to be located on the shores of the Gowanus Canal.

Earlier this week, Community Board 6 submitted its scoping comments (summary via Gowanus Lounge and full PDF available here), and tonight, Toll Brothers will visit the community board for an “informational presentation.”  According to GL, the meeting starts at 6PM and will take place in the auditorium at PS 32, which is located at 317 Hoyt Street.

Rendering via Brownstoner. 

Brownstoner reports this morning from last night’s gathering at the St. Mary Star of the Sea residences in Brooklyn, where residents of Gowanus and surrounding neighborhoods gathered to discuss a proposed new development from Toll Brothers. According to the report, concerns ranged from school overcrowding to small business displacement, to sewage in the Gowanus Canal and the site’s toxicity; and, “there was a great deal of talk about how residents can make their voices heard at the scoping meeting next week.”

With a rezoning of the area coming as early as the late spring or summer, and another large development at Gowanus’ “Public Place” site coming soon, it is heartening to see the community organizing around the public input process.

The scoping hearing for the Toll Brothers development takes place March 13 at 2pm, at the Department of City Planning’s Spector Hall, 22 Reade Street. For more information about scoping hearings, please see our Coney Island case study.

Photo of the Gowanus Canal from Flickr – check out the Gowanus photo group.

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