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21-Acre Greenway Proposed for Downtown Brooklyn

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Downtown Brooklyn will probably never see that observation hot air balloon, but if Mayor de Blasio has his way, the neighborhood will see a 21-acre greenway connecting the courthouses to the waterfront called the Brooklyn Strand. The idea is part of a new proposal from the city to make Downtown Brooklyn a more appealing neighborhood. Dozens of new buildings have brought thousands of resident to the area in the last several years, but Downtown Brooklyn is still pockmarked by dangerous intersections and crumbling public spaces.

The Journal reports that in addition to the greenway, the plan calls for improving pedestrian and traffic conditions on Tillary Street, as well as Jay, Addams, and Willoughby Streets. Pedestrian areas on these streets would be widened to create plazas with furniture. Willoughby Square Park will finally come to life, the triangular BAM Park at Fulton Street and Lafayette Avenue will reopen, and a new $1.4 million plaza called Fox Square will be created at the corer of Fulton and Flatbush. Additionally, the city would open up the ground floor of some city-owned buildings to add retail to enhance the streetscape.

The proposal also includes plans for bringing more bodies to the neighborhood to enjoy these revamped spaces. The Deputy Mayor for housing and economic development Alica Glen told the Journal that the administration plans to consolidate some offices in city-owned buildings, and it would turn the extra space into affordable offices for tech companies. Other initiatives include creating an area Business Improvement District and launching "a college consortium" with the area's 11 higher education institutions.

Not only does the proposal coincide with Curbed's Outdoors Week (three cheers for new green space!), but it also marks the 10-year anniversary of the neighborhood's rezoning. Yesterday, the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership released a report outlining the major changes that the neighborhood has seen in the last decade, including a 200 percent increase in housing stock, $400 million in infrastructure upgrades, and the creation of 10,000 new tech jobs.
· A Makeover for Downtown Brooklyn [WSJ]
· Hot Air Balloon, New Parks Come With Brooklyn's Tech Boom [Curbed]