Monday, May 02, 2016

The Smith Street Funday Sunday Will Take Place In 2016 As A Tribute To Its Founder, Bette Stoltz

Bette Stoltz, founder of South Brooklyn Local Development Corporation

When Bette Stoltz, South Brooklyn Local Development Corporation's founding Executive Director, unexpectedly passed away this past November, she left a huge hole in the neighborhood. For decades, Bette had been deeply committed to the community and to the merchants and restaurateurs who took a chance on Smith Street when the area was not yet popular and before Smith Street was called "restaurant row."

Besides founding SBLDC, she served for years as a member of Community Board 6, was involved in the creation of the beautiful Transit Garden at the corner of Smith Street and Second Place, served on the EPA Gowanus Canal Superfund Community Advisory Board and was a member of several neighborhood associations, including Friends And Residents of Greater Gowanus.In addition, she helped fund and bring a full fledged Culinary Arts Curriculum and facilities to the High School For International Studies at 284 Baltic Street and was so proud of its students and graduates.
In the past year, Bette was hard at work on creating a joint Business Improvement District (BID) for Smith Street and Court Street.

Bette did many things, and she did them all well and with a big smile on her face.  It was clear, however, that one of the things she loved most, was to nurturing new businesses and advise its owners on how best to succeed on Smith Street, or as she called it "the little street that could."
To insure their success, Bette organized wonderful community events like the Smith Street Funday Sunday Fair, Bastille Day and the Smith Street Soup Festival, which brought local residents out to meet the business owners in their neighborhood.  All were amazing successes.

After Bette's passing, it was unclear what would happen to SBLDC and Bette's Smith Street events.
I am so excited to report that Bette's daughter Erica Stoltz will be stepping into her mom's footprints to host the Smith Street Funday Sunday Festival in 2016.

Erica writes:
The death of Bette Stoltz was a shock to all of us. She was woven into the fabric of Smith Street and the public events she produced are an important part of the flavor of Brooklyn. The outpouring of love from the community she served brought tremendous comfort to my family and I. In her honor I am producing the fair this year so that we all can continue to celebrate the wonderful community she helped build.
We are going to open the fair with a Second Line procession to give all the vendors a chance to celebrate Bette's life as well. I look forward to seeing you there.
Erica Stoltz, Executive Director of SBLDC 

Erica produced this wonderful video below on her mother's work and her legacy here in South Brooklyn.

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