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Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation Gets $20 Million Makeover

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TWC News: Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation Gets $20 Million Makeover
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It's been an anchor in the community for decades, and now, the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation has an updated look while preserving its past.

Along Fulton Street, you'll find Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, the country's first community development corporation created back in the 1960s to help stabilize the struggling neighborhood.

Its founders included Sens. Robert Kennedy and Jacob Javits, who are now forever memorialized in the plaza. It's part of a new look designed to better connect with the community.

"Now, people are more engaged," said Dyrnest Sinckler of the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation. "The whole idea was to engage Fulton Street. Before this, I don't think that many people understood what restoration was about or what was behind the wall."

Before the $20 million makeover, the plaza was obscured by a facade. Now, with the open layout, the corporation said the original mission to help provide services to the neighborhood is better realized.

"This was an essential move for us, and it's been really, really a great response," Sinckler said.

Part of the project included streetscaping along Fulton Street and a new plaza directly across the street on Marcy Avenue. Here, the sidewalk was widened. There are new benches and greenery, a public art installation and even artsy garbage cans that read "Bed-Stuy and Proud of It!"

"Things to really make the area inviting, clean and safe for all the folks that come here to visit, to work, to shop and to play," said Michael Lambert of Bed-Stuy Gateway BID.

Restoration is also using its renovated space for community activities like music and dance performances. Equipped with a large screen, the plaza also hosts film festivals. This weekend, the BID is hosting the Toast of Brooklyn Food and Wine Festival at the plaza.

"We're really trying to, again, raise awareness about the great things that Bed-Stuy has here to offer, not just to Brooklyn and Bed-Stuy but also to New York City and the larger community."

Community members said they like the improvements.

"Very good," said one. "Look, I can sit and relax and eat my breakfast."

"Oh, I like it," said another. "I mean, I live around this area for 40 years and I'm now seeing how bright it can be."

A bright outlook is what officials say will draw more investment to the neighborhood.

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