The Jehovah’s Witnesses could answer the prayers of locals fighting to keep more high-rise condos out of Brooklyn Bridge Park, according to the New York Post.
During a closed-door session at Borough Hall yesterday, some civic leaders and elected officials discussed having the city revise the waterfront park’s project plan to include dozens of DUMBO and Brooklyn Heights properties that the religious group has put up for sale.
"There’s a growing sentiment that the Jehovah’s Witnesses buildings are the magic bullet to keep more housing out of the park," said Paul Nelson, Assemblywoman Joan Millman’s chief of staff and a member of the city board overseeing the park’s development.
The Witnesses buildings near the park’s borders could serve as a substitute for constructing new high-rise condos within the park at John Street in DUMBO and by Pier 6 in Brooklyn Heights, while still helping offset park maintenance costs.
Brooklyn Heights activist Tony Manheim – who is leading this charge — said the city should buy the Witnesses buildings, convert them into luxury condos and then put tax revenues from the sales toward the park’s anticipated $16.1 million annual maintenance costs.
The city and the Witnesses declined comment yesterday, but the city has said it is committed to investigating alternatives to building new condos within the park.
Brooklyn Bridge Park has been a political hot potato since project planners announced in 2004 that more than 1,200 luxury condos would have to be included to help fund the 85-acre project’s maintenance budget.
High-rise foes seek 'Witness' protection
New York Post - October 7, 2010 - By Rich Calder