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Ballooning BK Bridge PK - Price tag for project soars

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While published reports state that the cost of Brooklyn Bridge Park has ballooned to $340 million, the agency charged with building the park refused to confirm the price tag.

Currently there is $225 million allocated in state and city funds to build the 85-acre waterfront park spanning from the Manhattan Bridge to Atlantic Avenue.

The Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation (BBPDC) under the auspices of the state Empire State Development Corporation is charged with building the park.

“Together the city and state are partners and it is our shared goal to bring a first-class waterfront park to New Yorkers. At present we cannot confirm an expanded project or expanded project budget at this time,” said BBPDC spokesperson Lisa Willner.

But Mariana Koval, executive director of the booster group Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy, said the cost of building the park is a “moving target” and said she wouldn’t be surprised if it is now in excess of $300 million.

Koval explained that the $150 million state and city allocations given to the park in 2002 did not include Pier 6 on the Atlantic Avenue side, which was added to the park in 2004.

The city put in another $75 million toward the project in February, said Koval.

“Every project now citywide is suffering from construction cost increases at a rate of 1.5 percent per month, so I think looking at a sum over $300 million right now is in accord with every other project in New York City,” Koval said.

The park’s mandate is that once constructed, it must become self-sustainable. Thus the park’s General Project Plan includes about 8.2 acres or about 10 percent for private development to generate the estimated $15.2 million annual cost of operating and maintaining the park.

These private developments around Pier 6 include two residential buildings – 315 feet and 95 feet high – and the existing building at 360 Furman Street, which has been converted to luxury condominiums.

Koval said that money from the luxury condominiums sold at 360 Furman Street should start coming to provide for that maintenance next year.

But Judi Francis, who heads the Brooklyn Bridge Park Defense Fund, and is one of many vocal critics of how the park is being funded, charged that the increased cost contributes to the project’s mismanagement.

“We should design something we can afford to build and we should begin to build something we have funding for. It is irresponsible to design something that there is no funding for,” Francis said.

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