Eyes on AY

The Park Slope Civic Council, the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council, and the Boerum Hill Association have joined forces on a new website that will monitor the megaproject in the midst of all three communities.

Atlantic Yards Watch will keep an eye on the construction project and its impact on its neighbors. The website lets residents submit reports of construction-related incidents for tracking and follow-up. It also features discussion forums on safety, quality-of-life issues, and other topics of concern, as well as news about the project.

Atlantic Yards is the largest single development in Brooklyn’s history, yet does not have dedicated public oversight.

“We’d like to see Atlantic Yards Watch become a resource for the Empire State Development Corporation, city agencies, and also [developer] Forest City Ratner,” said Civic Council President Michael Cairl.

“With construction in full swing and the Barclays Center expected to open in September 2012, local community members are concerned over the lack of transparency in identifying and resolving the many traffic, noise, air quality, and safety issues,” said Danae Oratowski, chair of the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council. “By tracking concerns reported through its website and the NYC 311 system, Atlantic Yards Watch will provide a centralized record of reported incidents and resolutions.”

The idea for the site arose from a Pratt Institute graduate class that researched public responses to projects in other urban areas, and proposed potential models for structuring a response in relation to Atlantic Yards. “Communities faced with large development projects having the potential to disrupt local life for decades have to find ways to effectively communicate risks, make recommendations to government authorities and developers, and ensure that proper disclosures are provided,” said Professor Jamie Stein, who led the class.

“Atlantic Yards Watch is intended to address gaps in oversight that we hope will eventually be closed through the establishment of a local development corporation or authority that is accountable to the public,” added Howard Kolins, president of the Boerum Hill Association. “Until that entity exists, it’s critical to document the community’s experience with the impacts of the Atlantic Yards project.”

 from the May 2011 Civic News