Sept. 22, 2016 By Hannah Wulkan
As Court Square continues its massive growth and development, a community organization is aiming to ensure that residents who live in the neighborhood have a voice in shaping it.
The Court Square Civic Association, founded by Amadeo Plaza in March, will hold its first public meeting next week to discuss resident concerns in the neighborhood.
The meeting, which will be on September 29 at 7 p.m. at MoMA PS1, will specifically focus on the issues pertaining to development, and will feature speakers Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, Rockrose VP of Planning Paul Januszewski, and City Planner Penny Lee.
“This area is being defined by other people, and it’s time for people who actually live here to have their voice heard,” Plaza said. “This area needs defining more than just a subway stop. We want to bring a voice to the table with other decision makers and have a say in what defines the community and neighborhood.”
Plaza said that he sees the Civic Association addressing many community issues, including development, infrastructure, education, small business development, recreation and community services, transportation and safety, and cultural advocacy. He said that the Association is planning to have meetings every two months, with each focusing on a different topic.
The meeting next week will focus on development, bringing together a politician, city planner, and developer to speak to the community.
“This isn’t a witch hunt against the developers, they are operating within the laws and restrictions the city places on them. It’s a discussion to see how the city can incentivize them to do the right thing for the community and try to get everyone talking together,” Plaza said.
He added that the Civic Association would likely operate largely through committees, allowing each group to focus on a single issue. Some issues he mentioned specifically were increasing the amount of parks and green space in Court Square, and adding more trains to the tracks in anticipation of the L train closing down in Brooklyn.
“The Civic Association will be like the driving instructor for the committee efforts, we can make connections and point things out and have some control, but we want strong willed and sharp committee leaders that will really advocate for the community,” Plaza said.