“We believe the Parks Department tried to avoid doing an environmental impact statement that would shine a light on the history, tradition, and enjoyment of the park and the surrounding community that would be lost”
Attorney Richard Lippes has handled mass tort cases related to environmental matters including the representation of hundreds of Love Canal plaintiffs. He also was special environmental counsel for the Three Mile Island nuclear meltdown in Pennsylvania.
The agency’s decision to classify the project as not needing a review relied solely on the consultation by Nancy Owens, Gruen found in the heavily-censored report
Attorney Michael Gruen provided advice on matters in litigation and helped draft the 1973 amendments to the New York City Landmarks Law.
Seek Alternatives to Removing Mature Trees and Paving Over Greenery.
NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver's Parks Without Borders program will remove 58 mature shade trees at the northwest corner of Fort Greene Park in the $10.5 million redesign. A total of 83 trees will be removed across the entire park. 3-inch caliper saplings will be planted in restitution. The cost of restitution alone costs $858,732, close to a million dollars.
Fort Greene Park Report Shows City Ignored Architect's Advice -- Anna Quinn, Patch
The city didn't follow a landscape architect's recommendations in their renovation plans for Fort Greene Park and then tried to hide those recommendations from the public
"We couldn't help but wonder what the text under all those black splotches said, and why the Parks Department would not want us to see it," attorney Michael Gruen said. "The more adamantly they refused, the more curious we became. In the end, we learned that the report gave sensible advice — and Parks refused to follow it."
"The recommendations from an expert of Nancy Owens' caliber are in line with community feedback.," FFGP President Ling Hsu said. "Over 500 petitioners have said all along to repair, not to pave over greenery with a hardscape plaza for commercial events in our beloved park."
Isn't NYC Parks Planting More 3-inch Caliper Saplings in Restitution?
"A large, healthy tree removes almost 70 times more air pollution each year than a small, newly planted tree."
What has been taken away in canopy, carbon storage, wildlife habitat, food production and more in mere hours will take decades to replicate.
... The argument for removing trees with "We'll replant for each one cut down" sounds good to the average person but it is grossly misleading. What has been taken away in canopy, carbon storage, wildlife habitat, food production and more in mere hours will take decades to replicate. That is the information that is not shared in that argument.
"... The standard 1:1 to replacement is disingenuous accounting. Peak ecosystem services come from bigger trees. Trees take decades to reach big tree status. A 2" tree has nothing on a 20" or 30" diameter tree that has aged in place. " (Source)
About the Lawsuit
What are we asking for in court?
Perform an environmental review on the Parks Without Borders redesign plan for Fort Greene Park.
Who is asking?
At the North West triangle of Fort Greene Park, the Parks Department has planned a new design that includes:
- Removing 58 mature trees at the corner. A total of 83 trees will be removed in the entire park.
- Pruning 13 London Plane trees (likely to die within a couple years due to extreme pruning and 18 months of lengthy construction)
- Paving over 13,314 square feet of open, usable greenery
- The round floral garden near the entrance of the park (to be replaced by a hardscape water fountain). There is a sprinkler for children at the playground nearby. One of the four nozzles has been broken for years without repair.)
What's the Rationale?
So pedestrians can have an unobstructed view of the monument at the top of the hill from Myrtle Avenue.
All of this without any study of the environmental impacts on the people, the animals and the environment of Brooklyn
Commissioner Silver wants to turn a beloved, quiet corner with dense canopy and open greenery into a cement plaza with no shade--creating a concrete frying pan in intensifying summer heatwaves amidst the climate crisis.
Landmarks Preservation Commissioners said his Parks Without Borders plaza proposal is "against every one of the historic moments in the design of the park" (Source)
We Need Trees, not a Cement Plaza in Intensifying Heat Waves
Photos: Residents wait for the bus in the shade provided by mature trees at the Myrtle and St. Edwards corner.