(pictured above, from top to bottom: the most up-to-date plans for 341 Eastern Parkway; work begins on the big hole, and renovation underway at the last vacant storefront on Franklin's hottest block)
Tuesday's CHCA meeting laid out some goals for the coming year, which included developing initiatives in five key areas: community building, safety, merchants (FAM will be taking the lead on this), Beautification, and one that catches ILFA's eye, Development Watch. Essentially, the CHCA hopes (with the help of community members) to do two things. Firstly, they want to keep residents informed and abreast of new plans and new developments, from zoning changes (there's a proposal in the works to "upzone" - allow taller buildings - along commercial corridors in Crown Heights) to big projects (like 341 Eastern Parkway and 1000 Dean) to individual storefronts.
Secondly (and this is of course the harder part), they'd like represent the community to these developers, which requires developing a sense of what the community needs and wants from these developments. Such a project raises all sorts of good questions which I'll leave to our able commentariat (what sorts of influence can they exercise? what are the needs, and whose needs are they? and so on...). Suffice to say, however, that I'm a big proponent of keeping people informed about the changes taking place in their communities and giving them the opportunity to voice their opinions about it. To that end, here's a quick "development watch" update from ILFA:
- 341 Eastern Parkway is under construction (click on the flyer above for an idea of what it will look like when its finished). As one of the most observant locals I know put it, "the fact that they painted over that mural says a lot, because they didn't need to."
- Other big projects: a construction fence is up and work appears to be starting on the 505 St. Marks development (94,000 square feet, 128 residential units, as reported last year.
- Last summer, ILFA claimed that every storefront on Franklin's hottest block (between Sterling and Park) had been occupied. Readers were quick to point out the error - one remained, next door to the Candy Rush. It's under construction, however, so it appears at least part of my post will soon be correct.
The CHCA is planning an event on Wednesday, November 14 at 983 Dean with some folks from the Pratt Institute to open up some conversations about what these changes mean, what community members want from them, and how they might influence the process. Until then, readers, there's always the comment threads!