Park Slope Community Groups Merge to Continue Civic Plans

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Community group Preserve Park Slope has merged into the longstanding Park Slope Civic Council as the two groups look to create a unified and stronger voice for local advocacy and engagement, leaders said.

After the group’s successful negotiations with NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital over expansion plans some years ago, Preserve Park Slope President Jarrett Brilliant said in a press release, it was logical to join with what he called “the most prominent and influential civic association in Park Slope and to join in its broader civic engagement mission.”

Brilliant has joined the Park Slope Civic Council Board of Trustees and heads the marketing committee, and other Preserve Park Slope leaders are expected to join the board at the Civic Council’s annual meeting in June, Park Slope Civic Council President Timothy Gilles told Brownstoner.

Gilles said street and sidewalk safety is “on everyone’s mind” and finding ways to address that is one of the group’s top priorities. The organization has called on policymakers to address traffic enforcement of e-bikes and increase funding for school safety agents. The group also has concerns “about the threat of out-of-scale development in the neighborhood” and wants to expand the Park Slope Historic District, Gilles said.

“We’re pleased that Mayor Adams reversed the proposed budget cuts to parks, but remain concerned about the impact of budget cuts on the entire city,” he said.

Park Slope Civic Council is one of Brooklyn’s oldest local improvement groups, formed in 1896. The volunteer organization focuses on issues including street and sidewalk safety, improved mass transit, and neighborhood beautification. It sponsors annual events such as the Park Slope Halloween Parade, cleanups, house tours, and community forums, and gives scholarships to graduates of the John Jay Educational Campus headed to college.

Preserve Park Slope was formed in 2013 when neighbors rang alarm bells about Methodist Hospital’s expansion plans. The group sued the hospital and ended up negotiating a settlement in which the hospital agreed to reduce the building height, relocate entrances and certain facilities, adopt a traffic management plan, and change the facade design. The agreement set up a collaborative relationship, Gilles said, that will continue under the Park Slope Civic Council banner.

Preserve Park Slope members have been invited to join the Civic Council at a discounted rate for the first year (annual membership is $40).

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