Bobi Morgan Wood
A Bushwick Community Plan Event was held Saturday at the Audrey Johnson Learning Center on Moffat Street. Community members were provided with stickers to annotate the parts of the plan of highest priority, after an in-depth informational PowerPoint presentation on the plan.
This was a continuation of the larger BCP reveal event that took place September 22 , intended both to share the work done so far, and to continue gathering community feedback. An additional BCP event is being planned for November 17, on the Eastern side of Flushing Avenue.
“I’m all for the plan,” said Sandra Young-Quiroz, who is a Bushwick resident, block president, and community activist. “I want to stop the R-6 zoning and bring it down to R-5 because of what’s going on with developments in the neighborhood.”
The BCP is written as a series of 12 objectives, each with additional recommendations based on available data.
Each of the 12 objectives represents an identified problem faced by Bushwick area residents. The plan was created by community members, some acting as independent concerned citizens and others from community organizationsworking along with Community Board 4, providing their input to create what amounts to a livability index.
You can read the plan in its entirety here. There are many more specific details about the plan available on the BCP website.
The 12 Objectives, in order, on the Bushwick Community Plan:
Keeping housing affordable occupies prime real estate on the plan, coming in at the very top of the list. Rent-stabilized housing—the kind that most Bushwick residents can afford—makes up only around one third all housing in Bushwick.
Building more affordable housing comes in close, intimately related as it is to the first item, at the second-highest priority on the list. Current legislation does not promote building affordable housing.
Stopping the increase of expensive housing is number three. The way zoning stands now, developers can build new housing which is not affordable to most Bushwick residents, and they can, and do, turn existing housing into dwellings which are not affordable.
Keeping and creating jobs! Living wage jobs are needed so Bushwick residents can pay their bills—including their rent.
Keeping Bushwick looking local and not like Williamsburg is next on the list. The tall, thin buildings favored by developers are changing the face of Bushwick.
Improving Bushwick’s transportation mess. There is too much congestion, and too many dangerous street crossings.
Improving access to healthcare. Health clinics, and other health resources, especially for low-income Bushwick residents, are in short supply.
Ensuring quality food. Some parts of Bushwick are food deserts—blocks where there is no supermarket or farmer’s markets offering quality fresh food.
Supporting young people. After-school enrichment activities are needed.
Supporting Bushwick’s eldest. The BCP recommends that the City fund programs which will allow older people to share space with families and younger residents.
Cleaning and increasing park space. Beloved community green spaces need to be cleaner, and there needs to be more of them.
Having a voice, making our mark, and having art too. More arts education and arts programming is needed. The creation of more murals celebrating Bushwick is recommended by the plan—as is bringing public art into private spaces.
Damian Mercado from East New York, holds a place on the Community Board 5 Healthy Aging and Social Service Committee.
“Well, if the developers have a plan and stick to the plan, and the Latino and black community [gets] the assets, that would be delightful, because people are losing their homes—people are becoming homeless,” said Mercado “We need to get these people in housing. Many people cannot afford the high rent right now. It’s too high, and too richy.”
Mary McClellan is a Community Board 4 member, Chair of the Health, Hospital and Human Service Committee, Senior Services and Veteran. At 80 years old she is also a member of the Community Advisory Board of Woodhull.
“The plan has some very good points, which I like,” McClellan said.
McClellan said she feels that the creation of jobs in the community is of paramount importance.
“If you don’t have no dollar, that’s why the crime rate is so high,” McClellan said, “ Because they want my dollar, that I worked all these years to get. If you don’t have no job, you don’t have no dollar. And if you don’t have no dollar…you don’t have no nothing.”
Cover photo courtesy of Bobi Wood