A group focusing on Fourth Avenue’s future arose from the Civic Council’s public forum on the thoroughfare and a walking tour eight months later. The Forth on Forth Avenue (FOFA) group then grew into a subcommittee of the Council’s Livable Streets Committee. At the Civic Council’s Trustees Meeting on Feb. 2, FOFA became a full-fledged committee of its own, a move that received unanimous approval of all trustees.
The change in status reflected the increased focus on and interest in the greater Park Slope-specific area of Fourth Avenue (from Flatbush Avenue to the Prospect Expressway), as well as a desire to give voice to residents on or near this stretch of the road in boroughwide discussions about Fourth Avenue’s future.
Because FOFA’s agenda has expanded so much over the past 12 months, members of the old subcommittee met prior to the Trustees Meeting to discuss future direction. Everyone there supported moving forward as an independent committee, and doing so under the auspices of the Civic Council by requesting committee status. Committee members also revised their original mission statement (see below) to better reflect the group’s refocus.
Members of FOFA are working on getting as many existing groups as possible — block associations, civic organizations, and commercial establishments — involved in the improvement of the Fourth Avenue streetscape. Because Fourth is generally considered a neighborhood boundary (one side of the avenue fronts Park Slope, the other Boerum Hill and Gowanus), the avenue is typically viewed as a place to avoid or endure on the way to a subway station. FOFA wants to change that, creating bridge alliances that make Fourth Avenue part of neighborhoods.
FOFA’s current projects include:
- Support for the St. Marks Block Association’s efforts to block establishment of a drive-thru at the McDonald’s being planned on Fourth Avenue (on the former site of a Kentucky Fried Chicken), and make sure that the lot is kept clean and safe prior to construction.
- Participation in the Civic Council’s Spring Civic Sweep, with emphasis on Fourth Avenue.
- Development of a strategy to recognize commercial establishments on Fourth Avenue (perhaps with a decal) that are “good neighbors” — sponsoring clean-ups, “adopting” or planting a tree, using window boxes, etc.
- Piloting a project between Bergen and Degraw Streets to focus on street greening. The project would involve support from block associations, condos, local organizations, and merchants.
- Representation of local interests in boroughwide committees established by the Borough President’s office to suggest development and improvement of Fourth Avenue.
If you are interested in learning more about Forth on Forth Avenue, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or join us for one of our regular meetings: the second Tuesday of every month, 8 a.m., at the Brooklyn Lyceum (Fourth Avenue and President Street).
Mission Statement of Forth on Fourth Avenue (FOFA) Committee
Vision Statement: Use local knowledge to preserve, promote, and improve the welfare and safety of our diverse Fourth Avenue community between Flatbush Avenue and the Prospect Expressway.
- Create a safe, multiuse, clean and green streetscape for all Fourth Avenue users.
- Enhance aesthetics and strengthen the connection to place and street-level activity of buildings on Fourth Avenue.
- Preserve affordable housing and advocate for a greater diversity of housing options on or near Fourth Avenue.
- Promote greater economic benefits for existing retail and commercial businesses and encourage development of new retail and commercial businesses on Fourth Avenue.
- Provide an active forum and voice for people who live, work, and make use of Fourth Avenue in order to identify and address community concerns.
- Create opportunities to learn more about who lives and works on Fourth Avenue and what their concerns are.
- Develop alliances among and between individuals, groups, and commercial interests on Fourth Avenue in order to work toward common interests.
- Represent the interests of our section of the avenue in larger discussions about Fourth Avenue improvements.
– Elise Salinger and SJ Avery are co-chairs of the Forth on Fourth Avenue Committee.
from the February 2012 Civic News