Public Place is the six acre brownfield tract bordered by the Gowanus Canal and Smith Street south of Fifth Street. It was once the site of the historic Citizens Gas Light Company's 12th Ward Gas Work. The company's plant used coal and petroleum products to create flammable gas for surrounding neighborhoods. Citizen later sold to Brooklyn Union Gas, which became Keyspan, which is now National Grid.
The plant was decommissioned in the early 1960's and the site was given to the city by condemnation in 1975 as public land. (Therefore the name "Public Place").
There has been talk of remediating the site for more than twenty years now. The responsibility for the clean-up falls on National Grid under the supervision of NYS DEC. The results of theRemediation Investigation showed contaminants like coal tar in depths up to 150 feet in the ground.
Recently, Public Place has been slated by the city for public development. TheGowanus Green project, as it is ironically named, would bring 770 units of affordable housing to the shores of the Gowanus.
One has to wonder how prudent and realistic it is to build housing on such historically polluted land.
Many in the community are sceptical that the site will ever be safe for human habitation.
No matter the future of the site, I urge everyone in the neighborhood to attend Monday's meeting. The clean-up of Public Place is of concern to everyone and it is imperative that we make sure that it is done safely, thoroughly and permanently.
Update and presentation by representative for National Grid and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
on the development of remediation plans for the Public Place
CB6 PUBLIC SAFETY/ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION/PERMITS/LICENSES