On Tuesday, Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation (Restoration) celebrated the ribbon-cutting of a $20 million neighborhood revitalization project along Fulton Street with local Council Member Al Vann and commissioners from various city agencies of New York.
The comprehensive improvements, championed by Restoration and financed by a $20 million investment from the city of New York, include the renovation and redesign of Restoration Plaza, mile-long streetscape improvements and the creation of new Wi-Fi accessible public plazas with public art.
The revitalization also generated more than $100 million in housing and commercial investments by the private sector to create close to 300 mixed-income housing units and more than 40,000 square feet of commercial space on the major thoroughfare of Brooklyn within Bedford-Stuyvesant.
“Restoration has always been at the forefront of improving Bedford-Stuyvesant and providing opportunities for its residents,” said Colvin W. Grannum, CEO and president of Restoration. “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. 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.”
“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. “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. I am proud to have been part of the creation of these prominent improvements to the face and future of our neighborhood.”
The Marcy Avenue Plaza isn’t without controversy though. The mosaic art piece embedded in Marcy Plaza, called “Mathematical Star,” is by a white artist named Ellen Harvey, who is rumored to have gotten paid $70,000 for her work. A passing transit worker noted, “This is a shame and a slap in the face to all the local Black artists, not to mention the proud, hardworking homeowners who are possibly second and third generation Bed-Stuy residents who now have to walk by and see this curious artwork while shaking their heads. It is like gentrification gone mad.”
The ribbon-cutting was preceded by a breakfast where New York City Human Resources Administration Commissioner Robert Doar and Community Service Society Executive Director David Jones discussed how their pioneering fathers, civil rights attorney John Doar and Judge Thomas R. Jones, influenced their choice of careers.