What Are Your Ideas for the Redesign of Restoration Plaza?

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David Adjaye, architect for the new Restoration Plaza, designed the National Museum of African American History and Culture
and the Studio Museum in Harlem’s new home, now being built.

Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation President Colvin Grannum is aiming to incorporate new purpose and services into its mission.

“We recently finalized our five-year strategic plan to help disrupt and close the racial wealth gap based on the tenets of excellence, collaboration and innovation with the community remaining at its core,” says a statement front and center on the Corporation’s website.

They feel that key to the success of this Renaissance is a project touting a new look for Restoration Plaza. It’s titled, “Re-Envisioning Bed-Stuy Restoration’s Fulton Street Home.”

“In the weeks and months to come, we will work closely with Central Brooklyn to get input to create a new symbol of ownership, pride and economic stability. The way in which our new home functions will be decided in lockstep with the four centers of excellence anchor[ing] the plaza.”

These will be a Center for Personal Financial Health, Center for Community Asset-Building, Center for Social Entrepreneurship and Enterprise and RestorationART. The vital services to be offered there appear wide in scope and depth – good news indeed for the community! Summaries of each can be found on the website, where we can keep up-to-date and also weigh in with ideas for the look and features of the new Plaza. President Grannum is looking forward to the input.

“Restoration is hosting briefings and focus groups to gather community feedback from local residents, business owners, nonprofit leaders, community leaders, and elected officials,” said Grannum. “One briefing has already been convened for elected officials. A focus group was held on March 26th for a range of community stakeholders, including residents.

“A second focus group is scheduled for April 15. A third is scheduled for early May. The focus groups are designed to be representative of the various stakeholders within the community and consist of no more than 50 people to facilitate discussion. All interested parties are invited to visit restorationplaza.org and submit their ideas for re-envisioning Restoration Plaza.”

An exciting announcement is that the plaza project will be helmed by the great David Adjaye. He is the architect responsible for the design of the National Museum of African-American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo, Norway, and the new home currently being built for the Studio Museum in Harlem, among many others.

Back in 2009, this reporter was skeptical about the building of Bruce Ratner’s proposed Barclays Center. The only certain bright light was that Brooklyn would have its very own Frank Gehry Building – sure to be a thing of beauty, wonder and facility. But to my great disappointment, Ratner nickel-and-dimed the great architect, having him change his plans repeatedly (well, twice) until he quit. Thus, we have now what some Brooklynites refer to as “the rusted can.”

Thankfully, Bedford-Stuyvesant is sure to have a beautiful and inviting new area that community members can navigate and celebrate before long.