UPROSE, Brooklyn’s oldest Latino community-based organization, is floating a plan that would turn the Sunset Park waterfront into a ground zero experiment on how the vaunted “Green New Deal” can battle the forces of climate change while creating the economic engine, KCP has learned.
The preliminary plan creates a Green Resilient Industrial District (GRID) that will encompass Sunset Parks waterfront including the Brooklyn Army Terminal, and the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal, and calls for the rejection of Industry City’s rezoning request to build a hotel, large square retail and academic facilities.
“The goal is to create a local economic engine that addresses both climate change and local economic needs. You can sell avocado toast and lattes somewhere else,” said UPROSE Executive Director Elizabeth Yeampierre, taking a swipe at Industry City, which has created thousands of jobs for the local neighborhood.
While Yeampierre said a final plan is not yet ready for public review, everything done thus far in the plan is very practical and looks for solutions. Green industrial jobs, including offshore wind turbines will bring thousands of jobs, she said, adding once the plan is finalized it will be up to city government to work out the final details such as fining suitable businesses to buy into it.
It is the EDC (Economic Development Corporation) job not to follow the market but to create it in identifying companies that do wind turbines and bring them in,” she said.
The plan’s vision is based on several types of green industrial development from around the world and informed by the Just Transition mode (climate-conscious sustainable productions) and circular economy principles like Eco-Industrial Parks, EcoDistricts, Green Port, and a Circular Economy.
City Council Member Carlos Menchaca (D-Sunset Park, Red Hook) said he saw the public presentation on the GRID proposal a couple of weeks ago, but only received a preliminary draft of the more substantive proposal this week. As such his team is excited about the concept and actively reviewing the research and recommendations.
“I support the Green New Deal and believe strongly that we cannot separate our responses to climate change from our responses to economic, social, and racial inequality. Part of the work my office is doing is to think about the future of the waterfront with or without Industry City’s rezoning, and how we can make it a hub for growing green industries and connecting our neighbors to those opportunities. How we do that at the local level is an important question, and I am open to any thoughtful ideas from the community,” said Menchaca.