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June 13, 2011

Legislators: one week left to get the state Legislature to pass a bill establishing a subsdiary to oversee Atlantic Yards

Atlantic Yards Report

It seems like an obvious argument: Atlantic Yards, as a massive development project, deserves a subsidiary or authority overseeing it long-term, just as other major projects, from Battery Park City to Brooklyn Bridge Park, have their own governance entities, helping evaluate the terms of the project and revising the schedule and plans as necessary.

And the bill, in its current form, is hardly prescriptive, giving community members a fractional voice but not definitive power, as the subsidiary would be appointed by the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC).

That argument, however, has gained relatively little traction in Albany over the last few years, as Forest City Ratner lobbying, which includes a close relationship with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and consistent Atlantic Yards support from governors, has managed to stymie any progress.

With barely a week left in the legislative session, this year the governance bill has a greater chance than before, elected officials said at a forum Saturday sponsored by BrooklynSpeaks. (Photos of the event, which drew some 60 people, by Tracy Collins.) That doesn't mean it's likely, but the bill has passed two Assembly committees, one more than previously, which gives it a fighting chance in the Assembly.

Beyond that, the dynamic surrounding the project--recognition that promised benefits are far off, and Forest City Ratner's entanglement (though not indictment) in a prominent corruption case--has changed somewhat.

BrooklynSpeaks leaders, who handed out letters to be filled out at the meeting to be sent to Albany, urged further phone calls and lobbying.


Related coverage...

Fort Greene-Clinton Hill Patch, June 13: All Eyes On Albany

Procrastinators everywhere will recognize the flurry of activity in the halls of the State Capitol in the coming days as our elected representatives struggle to resolve tough issues before they join schoolchildren across the state on summer break.

For months, they have debated, revised and negotiated details of bills with big-time implications for many Brooklyn residents, including whether to extend rent regulations, to create a panel to oversee Atlantic Yards redevelopment or to legalize same-sex unions.

Now it's crunch time.

Posted by eric at June 13, 2011 10:27 AM