CHCA Meeting Minutes: December 2007

The December meeting of the Crow Hill Community Association, Inc. was held on December 18, 2007 at the Haitian/American Daycare, Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, New York. Ms. Eve Porter, President opened the meeting at approximately 7:45

Local Business Introductions
Toly, from Soda Bar on Vanderbilt came to get community support for his new proposed project at 620 St. Johns: a small upscale restaurant/bar/European café that will serve dinner and brunch. He says it will be a low-key establishment utilizing outdoor space in the warm months

Eve Porter introduced Jamie Walker, owner of the newly opened sports bar; 95 South on Franklin. They cater to an older, mature crowd and serve BBQ/ribs/chicken/salmon/shrimp.

Status of our lapsed Dormitory Authority Grant
Eve Porter gave an explanation of the Dormitory Authority grant that we are trying to get reinstated. We were originally given $250,000 to spend on the revitalization of Franklin Avenue. The grant is set up so that the money must first be spent and then it is reimbursed. Due to membership attrition, we were not able to spend the full amount within the 3 year period and it is debatable whether access to the approximately $180,000 left in the grant will be reinstated.

Daisy James, Chief of Staff for Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries gave us an update on the Assemblyman’s efforts to get the grant reinstated. CHCA must submit a report showing how the money was spent to date and a request for the remaining funds. Questions about how the grant money was used were raised when a letter was written requesting that the scope of the grant be changed to accommodate the needs of the community and to avoid duplicating services that were being provided directly by the city.

Council Member Letitia James 
Council Member James introduced herself with a brief history of her involvement with the community: She ran as a Working Party candidate, was elected in 2002 and again in 2005. She was formerly Chief of Staff for Roger Green who was instrumental in getting our Dormitory Authority Grant. The question remains as to whether we can recapture the money after this time lapse.

Ms. James outlined the types of things that she can do for Franklin Avenue similar to what she has done on other commercial corridors: streetscape program, provide funds for trees, lighting and facades and match state funds. Through her office, the city can only provide money for public buildings, trash cans, lights, sweeping the streets, trees, sidewalks, etc we must go to the state for assistance with private buildings. Another tactic to strengthen the Franklin Avenue corridor would be to stabilize rents on Franklin through getting gov’t provided incentives for landlords to keep rents low.

She cited the crime stats in the 77th precinct: murder is down but burglary and assaults are up. She suggests more video cameras, more police presence, especially CPOP. She gave her support for the CHC letter writing campaign and stressed that crime MUST be reported, if the stats go down we will not get increased police presence. She also mentioned her goal to put an athletic center in the Armory on Bedford & Atlantic. A large portion is unused, this could happen without replacing the homeless facilities.

Was the project to convert the armory initiated by Roger Green
No, there was just discussion of it then.

Eve Porter introduces Errol Louis writer for the Daily News, a resident of Crow Hill and a former CHCA project manager.

Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries
Assembly Member Jeffries spoke about the positive direction of the community as well as the issues with the shelter at Atlantic & Bedford and the “pharmaceutical” industry on Franklin Avenue. He discussed the installation of security cameras along the routes that people travel when they come off the subways. He addressed the issue of our lapsed grant and reiterated that his office is doing everything they can to get it reinstated.

Concern about the muggings occurring on the west side of the precinct.
Letitia James indicated that it might be gang related; there is a pattern of these incidents occurring between 3-8, at 3 a lot of police are occupied staffing schools and providing safe corridors for children.

She also indicated that Commissioner Walsh, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Small Business Services would like to come speak to us about Franklin Avenue.

Can we get the precinct to come to one of our meetings?

CHCA Committees
Eve Porter presented the sign up sheets for the various CHCA committees:
Community Outreach
Economic Development
Fund Raising
Good & Welfare
Go Green/Go Clean
Merchant Outreach
Public Safety
Youth Outreach

We have $1000 in our bank account we wrote checks totaling $300 to the Daycare Center and its janitors for our use of the space.

The formal meeting was adjourned at approximately 9:00 pm,
holiday refreshments were served.