Sharply dressed Councilman Erik Dilan updates CB4 on new legislation, parks, and gun permits. — Photo by Aaron Short
There’s a full week left before Thanksgiving but Bushwick’s Community Board 4 is squeezing in one last fruitful meeting before the holiday. Tonight, we have a special guest — Councilman Erik Dilan, who is possibly wearing the best outfit I’ve ever seen him put together.
Dilan is wearing a pink shirt with a white collar and French cuffs. Even his liaison is wearing a gray flannel suit. I just saw Erik’s dad this afternoon, state Sen. Martin Dilan, in Greenpoint celebrating ExxonMobil’s $25 million settlement with the state for contributing to the Greenpoint oil spill.
But Councilman Dilan was here to talk about funding for parks. And those cuff links.
"I don’t usually wear them," said Dilan. "It was a gift I guess."
6:34 PM: Chairwoman Julie Dent calls the meeting to order and gives the mic to a rep from Opportunties for a Better Tomorrow. The jobs organization has applied for a $325,000 grant from the state Dept. of Education to make Bushwick a "literacy zone." The program would help fund teachers to teach adult literacy services, English as a Second Language, and a number of other programs at a "welcome center" in the neighborhood.
"Weve submitted the RFP, Oct 15, but we still want support from the board," she said. "Even if we don’t get a literacy zone, we want to improve services."
6:46 PM: District Manager Nadine Whitted leads the first roll call and 28 members are present. Dent recognizes elected official representatives before giving the microphone to Dilan.
Dilan refers to the City Council’s passage of bills to ease restrictions on the installation of solar panels on roofs, low flow toilets, and other measures to decrease water bills. He also mentioned his opposition to decreasing permit fees for gun ownership.
In parks news, $300,000 in appropriations for tornado damage at Irving Square Park has not been allocated because there may be some federal disaster relief coming.
Dilan has allocated $1 million to acquire a vacant lot on Moffat Street and Central Avenue and turn it into a "world-class skate park." There seems to be significant enthusiasm in the room for the idea.
7:00 PM: Dent takes the mic back, commending Dilan for putting so much money into parks.
Also, Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council‘s Community Learning Center is currently looking for full and part-time positions for youth leaders and counselors.
Finally, Julie thanks Sharon Floyd for serving the delicious food provided at today’s meeting (sautéed chicken in lemon crème sauce, meatballs, green beans, and rice and peas). I hate to say it. I’m missing the soda.
7:13 PM: In her report, District Manager Nadine Whitted notes that Brooklyn Economic Development Corporation is requesting support for operating a homeless shelter at 949 Willoughby Avenue, which housed a similar facility until 2008. It’s been vacant since. The board is referring discussion of the proposal to the Housing and Land Use committee on Nov. 30, 6 pm.
The developer of 960 Willoughby Avenue is requesting support for a Sunday work construction permit (for 86 units), which is also referred to the Housing and Land Use committee, but Whitted says that Sunday is most people’s Sabbath and that construction workers shouldn’t be working then.
7:28 PM: Committee reports! There are only two. Housing Committee Chairwoman Martha Brown reads through an incomprehensible zoning amendment from the Department of City Planning and members’ eyes glaze over in a way that is impossible to distinguish from the sautéed chicken’s lemon crème sauce.
Brown then summarizes a presentation about Bushwick’s high foreclosure rate, expectations for tenants whose homes happen to be going into foreclosure, and mortgage scams that are still ensnaring Bushwick homeowners.
7:55 PM: Whitted goes over the FY 2012 city budget recommendations. Shockingly, they are seconded and voted upon within three minutes. The board wants more city-built housing.
8:04 PM: New Business. Laura Braslow is asking board members and community members to join the CB4′s Arts and Culture Committee. If you want to be on it, call Whitted at 718-628-8400.
8:12 PM: Announcements! Hold on, we’re almost done. I’ll summarize.
*The Towns’ 25th anniversary Thanksgiving dinner for seniors will be at Boys and Girls H.S. on Fulton Avenue and Schenectady at 11 am. Uh oh, this is going to compete with the Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Center’s Thanksgiving lunch. That’s not good.
*Sean-Michael Fleming announces that this is the last week of the Bushwick Farmers Market season.
*Arts Committee chairwoman Laura Braslow thanks everyone for coming out to BETA Spaces on Sunday. And they’re already starting to organize the performance arts festival, SITE Fest, on the first weekend of March.
*Public Safety Chairwoman Barbara Smith reminds you about the 83rd Precinct’s Christmas fundraiser on Dec. 3. Laura Braslow is an honoree. Wait, really?
*Parks Chairman Austen Martinez notes that the Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Center is having its annual meals-on-wheels program next Thursday, starting at 6 am. If you want to volunteer, they’re at 319 Stanhope Street and you can call Jeannie Laino at 718-366-3038.
Bushwick’s Community Board 4 meets on the third Wednesday of every month (except July and August) at Hope Gardens Community Center, 195 Linden Street at Wilson Avenue. To contact the office any other time, call 718-628-8400 or visit 315 Wyckoff Avenue, 2nd Floor.