New York City is offering $100 million to buy parcels of land, including the site of a storage facility that burned in a large fire in 2015, for a park on the East River in Brooklyn.
Mayor de Blasio tweeted a letter addressed to the owners of the former CitiStorage site offering to buy the land on the water on Williamsburg's north side to be used to complete the long-planned Bushwick Inlet Park. The site was destroyed in a large fire in January 2015 that burned for days and left cars and surrounding buildings encased in ice.
After the fire, park advocates began pushing for the city to purchase the land because it divides an already-developed portion and a second undeveloped area near Greenpoint that abuts the Bushwick Inlet.
In the letter, Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alicia Glen said the owners were recognized in Greenpoint and Williamsburg "as being philanthropic, as caring about open space and as giving back to the community at large."
"We hope you will partner with the city and accept this very generous offer so that we can work, together, making this important park -- which the community has been advocating for decades -- a reality," she said.
The $100 million purchase was approved in the city's 2017 budget.
The first phase of Bushwick Inlet Park sits between North Ninth and 10th Streets -- adjacent to East River State Park, which hosts Smorgasburg on weekends throughout the spring and summer -- and includes a community center and athletic fields.
The city has purchased several other properties along the once-industrial area and has begun work to expand the park, which could potentially stretch across the inlet.
So far, the city has spent nearly $225 million on the park. That includes $198 million to buy the land and another $25.8 on development.
Proposals for the park have been in the works since the 1980s, and residents have been vocal in clamoring for the public space. Often, there are signs and other displays near an undeveloped site near the Bushwick Inlet asking "Where's our park?"