Plans by the Lightstone Group to develop 700 rental apartments along the polluted Gowanus Canal, conveniently located a short walk from the historic brownstones of the Park Slope and Carroll Gardens neighborhoods of Brooklyn, and a similarly sized project in the vicinity, have residents of the "quirky and rough-edged" neighborhood divided over its future, reports Joseph Berger.
"Some residents are trying to block or reduce the scale of the proposed buildings, arguing that the new tenants would overwhelm schools and subways, and that the buildings themselves - 12 stories in spots - would perniciously transform the low-rise mingling of factories and row houses they have come to love. Others, however, argue that the Lightstone development would create a constituency to lobby for continuing the cleanup of the sometimes inky, sometimes lizard-green waters of the 1.8-mile polluted and pathogenic canal, which was declared a Superfund site in 2010."
"'This is the tipping point for Gowanus,' said Jerome Krase, a professor emeritus of sociology at Brooklyn College and a former president of the Gowanus Canal Community Development Corporation, a neighborhood group. 'What's going to be interesting is to see whether it's going to contribute to a kind of middle- and upper-middle-income neighborhood in between gentrified Carroll Gardens and highly gentrified Park Slope. What's unusual about this project is it's being done in the middle of the wasteland.'"