Philanthropist Joshua Rechnitz has decided that his proposal to construct a year-round sports facility in Brooklyn Bridge Park, including an inclined bike track, will most likely be scuttled. Rechnitz’s reason for canceling the project is that he determined that it was not “financially viable” to build a velodrome on the site. He will begin to search for another location for the sports facility somewhere else in New York City.
Residents of Brooklyn Heights, where Brooklyn Bridge Park is located, are, for the most part, pleased with this turn of events. They were not too keen on the construction of a 2,500-seat sports arena, and even toning down the velodrome to only 500 fans at competitive events did not convince residents the facility was something that would improve the neighborhood.
President of the Brooklyn Heights Association Jane McGroarty expressed the view that the neighborhood is better off without the 50 million dollar year-round facility.
“There were a lot of people in the [Brooklyn Heights’] Willowtown section concerned about the parking and traffic,” McGroarty said. “Others raised questions about the size and felt a velodrome would not be an attraction for people to come to the park.”
Some other residents however were unhappy with Rechnitz’s change of heart.
Judy Francis has been leading the fight to prevent more high-rise condos from entering the park’s premises. She believes that the neighborhood should have welcomed the facility with open arms, finally filling “the park’s largest void, a year-round recreation center.”
“The reason it did not happen is because the focus of this park is on housing — not recreation” Francis said.