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July 27, 2009

"Because it is shovel-ready construction": FCR's lame explanation for seeking federal stimulus funds for an essentially private arena

Atlantic Yards Report

It was one of the more astonishing exchanges at the informational meeting last Wednesday--Forest City Ratner's MaryAnne Gilmartin's explanation for why the developer has sought stimulus funds to boost its essentially private project.

Remember, the developer has lobbied for federal stimulus funds, and is almost certainly still lobbying for such help, even though former Empire State Development Corporation CEO Marisa Lago said at a May 29 state Senate oversight hearing that the ESDC hadn't sought such funds.

Why not? Because, as I note below--it's not a public project.

(Video shot by Jonathan Barkey; edited by Norman Oder)

“Can Forest City Ratner comment on why there have been public requests for federal stimulus funds to help with the construction of the arena?” asked moderator Craig Hammerman.

“It’s shovel-ready construction,” shouted Marie Louis of BUILD (Brooklyn United for Innovative Local Development), a Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) signatory.

Gilmartin at first looked a little uncomfortable with the question--perhaps because there's no good answer--but quickly recovered: “Because it is shovel-ready construction, and the fact of the matter is that the project, like other projects around the country, have suffered, based on the economic downturn, and it’s our responsibility to try to do what we can to make the project happen and to maintain its viability.”

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Posted by lumi at July 27, 2009 5:56 AM