The Crow Hill Community Association will be hosting their monthly meeting tonight at LaunchPad (721 Franklin) from 7:30 - 8:30 pm. For those who aren't familiar with the CHCA, they're the neighborhood's leading civic organization, and they do a great deal for the residents of "Crow Hill" (Northwest Crown Heights). If you're new to the area, these meetings are a great way to get to know your neighbors, learn about the rich history of the community, and get involved in addressing the challenges that all local residents face. You can check out their various initiatives at their website and their blog.
On the docket for tomorrow night's meeting (which ILFA is dismayed to be missing) is a discussion of the future of the brewery complex on Franklin between Bergen and Dean (pictured above in 1907 - that building, on Bergen, now reads "Heinz" in faded lettering). Ideas on the table include landmarking and renovation for community use, which will entail working with the city and the developer(s). This sort of discussion goes to the heart of the questions Laurel, Mike, and others have been asking of last Friday's post, and while it's too late now for extended ruminations, I'll likely devote more space to these issues later this week.
Regarding the brewery complex, it's one of ILFA's absolute favorite buildings on Franklin, and half of it has already been renovated to some acclaim. The Franklin side of of it, however, remains mostly lovely (I'm not a huge fan of the various cinder-block additions that occupy the Dean Street end of things) and empty. While I love the idea of a preserved public space, funding for developments of this size remains very tight and landmarking (if the building was indeed landmarked before construction began) makes any sort of renovation considerably more time-consuming and expensive (I'm sure the folks at the CHCA know this, but it bears mentioning). One potential route to developing the space would be with city money, which is also scarce, but recently reared its head in the form of an RFP for a Central Brooklyn small business incubator. All that said, if all the parties involved can come to the table in a spirit of creativity and compromise, the potential for a beautiful project is lurking at that site.