Some major changes are coming to East New York, the city's first neighborhood to be rezoned under a push by Mayor Bill de Blasio to create more housing and development. NY1's Jeanine Ramirez filed the following report.
A burnt-out former food processing plant on Atlantic Avenue in East New York stood vacant for years.
The city rezoned the community to spur development, and now, the site is cleared. Its new owners, the nonprofit developer Phipps Houses, are getting ready to build a massive affordable housing complex.
"Newcomers will continue to come," said City Councilman Rafael Espinal of Brooklyn. "So if we don't build affordable housing, people who currently live here will have nowhere to go. So this is our way of addressing that issue and giving them the tools they need to stay in their neighborhoods."
Nearly 1,000 units, all of them considered affordable, are going up here, while across the street on city-owned property, more affordable housing is planned, along with a school.
"This is a win win for everyone because we're not only creating housing, we're creating a full community," Espinal said.
City Councilman Rafael Espinal helped to lead the city's controversial rezoning last year, which allows for larger, denser buildings. He tried to build support for the school plan at a hearing Tuesday with the SCA, the School Construction Authority. But many residents remain skeptical.
"We want to make sure that this school is catered to our community, East New York, Cypress Hills, District 19, not to have children bused in," said resident Erica Perez.
"It's going to meet the needs of the future residents of East New York, not the ones that are already here," said resident Nelly Peña.
Some questioned the school site, along busy Atlantic Avenue.
"As far as young people having to go to school there and potentially crossing Atlantic, I'm really concerned because it's a dangerous, it's dangerous if you're driving. It just really concerns me," said resident Keron Alleyne.
Espinal says part of the city's rezoning investment includes $40 million to resdesign the street and sidewalks to make them safer. He says the school will be a community assett.
"Community school to benefit all of the children in our community," he said. "This will not be a charter school. This is intended to be 100 percent a public school for kids in pre-K to eighth grade."
The SCA is accepting public comment on the school until February 17.