Governor Cuomo’s $1.4B Central Brooklyn plan stokes gentrification debate

March 15, 2017

Governor Cuomo announced a $1.4 billion initiative last week to bring resources like health care services and new jobs to Central Brooklyn. According to the governor, the plan, called “Vital Brooklyn,” will bring 7,600 jobs and more than 3,000 new affordable housing units to Brownsville, East New York, Bedford-Stuyvesant and Crown Heights. And while Cuomo’s administration found these neighborhoods to be some of the most disadvantaged in the state, residents worry about the possible gentrification and displacement effects (h/t NY Times).

A coffee counter in Bed Stuy

Central Brooklyn, an area with mostly black and Latino residents, is considered a gentrifying neighborhood, although not matching the pace of areas like Williamsburg and Park Slope. Some residents worry that the Governor’s initiative will quicken the trend by increasing the value of the neighborhood, bringing with it a soaring rise in rent. Cuomo’s counsel, Alphonso David, disagreed with criticism about the plan’s possible resident displacement: “This plan counters gentrification, largely because of the housing component,” he said. “If we did nothing, you would see central Brooklyn become even more gentrified than it is now. This plan, in essence, is to keep people here.”

The state found Central Brooklyn to be plagued with higher rates of obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure, limited access to healthy foods or opportunities for physical activity, high rates of violence and crime, high rates of unemployment and poverty levels, and deficient access to high-quality healthcare and mental health services. The initiative is broken down into eight areas of investment:

vital brooklyn investment, governor cuomo brooklyn planChart courtesy of Governor Cuomo’s Press Office

A large portion of the $1.4 billion plan will go towards community-based health care, affordable housing, open space and recreation space and “resiliency” which will focus on making the area more environmentally sustainable. These resiliency projects include investing in renewable energy sources, green jobs training, and reducing costs for homeowners and businesses through solar projects.

“Every New Yorker deserves to live in a safe neighborhood with access to jobs, healthcare, affordable housing, green spaces, and healthy food but you can’t address one of these without addressing them all,” Cuomo said in a statement. “Today, we begin to create a brighter future for Brooklyn, and make New York a model for development of high need communities across the country.”

[Via NY Times]


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