Green Sustainable Vision Growing in Bedford-Stuyvesant

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The announcement of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) award for a Smart Growth Technical Assistance Grant to create a Green Sustainable Vision for Bedford-Stuyvesant held at Restoration Plaza, was an important example of a community in action. There were only three of these grants awarded in the nation, said Colvin Grannum, President of Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation. And this one was won by the creation of the Coalition for the Improvement of Bedford-Stuyvesant (CIBS), a collection of Local Development Corporations brought together into a working group by Councilman Al Vann, where they were free to collaborate, “Not working in silos,” sharing resources and planning is how Grannum put it.

The result has been the opportunity to “Develop projects that can be implemented as models for all of New York City and beyond”, said Melissa Lee, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Comprehensive Neighborhood Economic Development (CNED). “Bedford-Stuyvesant is one of the oldest and most historic communities in Brooklyn,” she said, “And it was the partnership with CIBS that has made us successful.”

Ron Borsellino, Deputy Director Office of Policy and Management, EPA Region 2, said “the purpose of these awards is to develop an overall strategy for green growth.” As that strategy develops, Jeffrey Dunston, Chief Executive Officer for Northeast Brooklyn Housing Development Corporation and Chair of the CIBS Housing & Physical Development Network, said that the economic consequences and the long-term effect of that “green growth” on the community must be included in any calculations. And that the development of Bedford-Stuyvesant must be holistically done so to “marry local economic development with commercial development as well as environmental protection.”