Friday, January 13, 2012
Four Sparrows Marsh - "Forever Wild" still in question - meeting Wednesday, 1/18/2012
Remember how in October, I was so happy about the Four Sparrows Marsh being spared from Ratnerization? Well, I should've known that once people had their eyes on something for development, it wouldn't go away quite that easily. Ratner's out but that was of course not the end of it. I'll be going to a meeting next Wednesday to stand up for leaving the entire marsh Forever Wild, as it should be. Here's a meeting notice that's been circulating among the birding community and has now been passed on to a few members of the paddling community by my friend Mary (aka "She Who Finds Snowy Owls Upon Demand"), who is a very active member of both communities.
Here is the meeting notice, in its entirety:
***IMPORTANT MEETING - PLEASE DISTRIBUTE! Wednesday January 18 @ 8 PM***
Community Board 18 will present the NEW PLANS for the Four Sparrow Marsh area -
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 18 @ 8 PM, Kings Plaza Community Room (enter near the garage on Flatbush Ave., the community room is to your right)
Four Sparrow Marsh is located on southbound Flatbush Ave, just past Toys R Us but before Floyd Bennet Field. It bears the NYC Parks Dept's "Forever Wild" logo. The NYC Parks Dept. website says:
"Named by naturalists Ron and Jean Bourque, Four Sparrow Marsh Preserve is home to four native species which require undisturbed marshland for nesting: Sharptailed, Seaside, Swamp, and Song Sparrows. Because of its relative isolation from residential areas in Brooklyn, Four Sparrow Marsh Preserve has been allowed to remain in a fairly natural condition. This makes it ideal for many permanently nesting species, including several types of ducks, gulls, and wading and woodland birds, as well as for the common seashore mollusks and crustaceans which feed those birds. It is an important part of the Jamaica Bay estuary system. "
Note the final sentence: "It is an important part of the Jamaica Bay estuary system".
Last winter, the NYC Economic Development Corp. announced plans to turn a sizable portion of the marsh into a shopping mall. Although the site was marked by Parks Dept. signs, it turned out that the land had never been officially turned over to the Parks Dept.!!!
A number of us went to the Feb. 2011 Scoping Meeting. We've been to a lot of these meetings, but there was something really off kilter about this one. I remember turning to my colleagues & saying "something isn't right here". Several weeks later, we learned that State Senator Carl Kruger had been indicted, for among other things, being in cahoots with the developer. That was why things didn't feel right.
In the fall of 2011, the plan for the retail center was withdrawn. However, there are still plans in the works which may impact a small portion of the area that everyone thought was pakland. The new plans for development on the Toys R Us site are similar to what was previously announced (a car dealership & renovation/expansion of the existing marina). This will be built on the existing parking lot, etc. of Toys R Us. But there is an additional strip of land south of Toys R Us that is also included in the development. We need to see if this will intrude on the parkland of Four Sparrow Marsh.
(blogger's note - emphasis mine, this was the key bit I overlooked last October) We also need to insist that the remaining 60+ acres of land is OFFICIALLY turned over to the Parks Dept. Otherwise, there is a good possibility that sooner or later this site will be turned over to developers.
We lost the Vandalia Dunes to the Gateway Mall. Let's make sure that Four Sparrow Marsh does not suffer the same fate.