Trendy Greenpoint, Brooklyn, home to one of the nation’s largest recorded oil spills, is finally seeing some compensation for that decades-long ecological disaster.
As part of the legal settlement with ExxonMobil in 2011, a $19.5 million fund was created to support “environmentally beneficial projects.” Last year, local groups were invited to submit proposals for Greenpoint-based initiatives that focused on environmental areas of concern: think water quality, open space, reduction of pollution, and air quality.
The proposals were put to a vote among Greenpoint residents, and the top six were recently chosen to receive a total of $11 million from the fund.
Here are the big winners in order of votes received:
Greenpoint Environmental Education Center: $5 million
Funds will be used to remodel the existing Greenpoint library branch in order to achieve LEED silver status, build an environmental education center on the second floor, and construct an outdoor classroom on the roof. Read the proposal.
Greening Greenpoint: $1.9 million
This three-year-project will plant 500 new street and park trees throughout the neighborhood and train up to 10 high school students as tree stewards through an urban forestry paid internship program. Read the proposal.
Intertidal Wetlands: $130,000
Funds will be used to assess shoreline sites and eroded bulkheads along Newtown Creek for opportunities to establish new and expand existing salt marsh habitats. Read the proposal.
Greenpoint Eco-Schools: $1.4 million
Led by the National Wildlife Federation, this project aims to develop and implement environmental education programs for 1,800 students in four Greenpoint schools (PS 31, PS 34, PS 110, and MS 126). Read the proposal.
Curb Your Litter: $569,000
This project will reduce the amount of litter in Greenpoint by addressing structural deficiencies and behavioral patterns. Funds will go towards new trash receptacles, clean-up days, and the training of community stewards Read the proposal.
West Street Watershed Stormwater: $1.9 million
Led by the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative, this project will address sewage overflow issues by constructing bioswales and “greenstreets” to capture and treat more than 6 million gallons of storm runoff annually. Read the proposal.
Applicants that did not receive a grant in this round of funding will be offered one-on-one assistance or the purpose of enhancing their proposals’ competitiveness for the next round of funding. The full remaining balance of the Fund—roughly $5.5 million—will be distributed this year.