A commiittee of Community Board 3 met this week, trying to move towards common ground on a plan for the long-delayed Seward Park Urban Renewal Area (SPURA). The five parcels at the foot of the Williamsburg Bridge near Delancey Street have remained vacant since 1967, when tenement buildings were bulldozed in the name of urban renewal. Repeated efforts over the years to develop the parcels have led to bitter divisions in the community. CB3’s economic development, zoning and planning committee is now trying to build a consensus for a plan all of the neighborhood’s constituencies can accept.
The panel, led by David McWater, is drafting a statement of general principles, which will be followed by more specific plans for the site. But even this step has been difficult. The committee reflects the divergent views in the community. Members are debating how much low, middle and market-rate housing the parcels should contain. They also are working through the mix of residential, retail, commercial, non-profit and open space uses for the area.
The statement of principles will be debated again next month. There will also be a presentation from city planning officials, who will lay out some of the issues involved in developing SPURA. At some point, the committee will solicit the opinions of the broader community. Look for more extensive coverage of the SPURA issue from us in the weeks ahead.