Revitalization project completed in Bed-Stuy

Stephon Johnson | 9/19/2013, 5:07 p.m.

New York City Council Member Al Vann joined other elected officials and business leaders to celebrate the completion of a project that’s brining in new money to the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn.

 The Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation (Restoration) celebrated the ribbon cutting of a $20 million neighborhood revitalization project along Fulton Street that includes the renovation and redesign of Restoration Plaza, mile-long streetscape improvements and the creation of new Wi-Fi accessible as with public art.

According to the corporation, the revitalization project has generated an additional $100 million in housing and commercial investment by the private sector to create close to 300 mixed-income housing units and over 40,000 square feet of commercial space in the area. The project’s also generated over 400,000 square feet of commercial space.

Restoration championed the project and the city of New York financed it with a $20 million investment. Colvin W. Grannum, CEO and president of Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, said this project shows the benefit of private/public partnerships.

 “This neighborhood revitalization project will not only provide Bed-Stuy residents with an opportunity to enjoy the neighborhood’s beauty and culture, but will also provide housing, business opportunities and shopping destinations for the people of our community and its visitors,” said Grannum in a statement. “This is a great example of how a community institution can work together with various public and private sector partners to bring about positive results that improve economic vitality, health and wellness, safety and access to cultural programming, while bringing the entire community together.”  

 Vann added that the type of project designed and completed with the help of Restoration, shows how all members of the community can work together for a common cause.

“The scope and success of this revitalization project exemplifies our community’s commitment to showcasing our many assets so that long-term residents, newcomers and visitors can experience Bedford-Stuyvesant at its best,” said Vann in a statement. “The investments and improvements that were part of this project were designed to benefit all segments of our community, from the entrepreneur and the property owner to the low-income renter and the transit-rider.

 The multi-year revitalization effort was overseen by the likes of Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, the New York City Council, Brooklyn Community Board 3, the NYC Economic Development Corporation and four city agencies: NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, NYC Department of Small Business Services and NYC Department of Transportation.

 Initially beginning as a project of the Mayor’s Office of Comprehensive Neighborhood Economic Development, a partnership of the city’s economic development agencies and local stakeholders shared a similar goal of building and revitalizing the residential and business communities of Bed-Stuy with the goal to create new green space, outdoor cultural and community event spaces, and expanded sidewalks with new benches, trees, plantings, bike racks and lighting to create public destinations in order to make it a more attractive area for business. New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC) President Kyle Kimball believes the mission has been accomplished.

“The improved streetscape along Fulton Street, along with enhanced and new public plazas, will make the neighborhood safer and more useful for pedestrians and residents, attract diverse new businesses, and ultimately spur economic growth in this historic heart of the Bedford-Stuyvesant community,” said Kimball in a statement.

 The Bed-Stuy Gateway Business Improvement District (BID), spawned from the Nostrand-Fulton Merchants Association, served as the main liaison between EDC, Restoration, Brooklyn Community Board 3, city agencies and others. The BID, under the oversight of the Department of Small Business Services, will provide services to ensure the area’s viability commercially, which includes public safety, cleanliness, marketing/promotion, retail attraction and maintenance of many of the amenities installed via the project.