(Brooklyn) – Elected officials representing the site and surrounding areas of the proposed Atlantic Yards arena, mixed-use project sent a letter to Governor Eliot Spitzer and Mayor Michael Bloomberg, demanding an independent security study for the project. The eight officials sending the letter included: Assembly Members Jim Brennan, Joan Millman, and Hakeem Jeffries, State Senators Eric Adams and Velmanette Montgomery, and City Council Members Bill de Blasio, Letitia James, and David Yassky.
Many of these same elected officials wrote a letter to Police Commissioner Ray Kelly in December of 2005 requesting information on terrorism and security planning for the project. No response was received.
As proposed, Atlantic Yards consists of a glass-walled arena with a towering glass entrance (with approximately 240 arena events per year), surrounded by glass-walled towers, built to the sidewalks, over the city's third-largest transportation hub, abutting the congested intersection of Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues – one of the busiest intersections in the city.
The letter was spurred not only by the lack of response to previous letters, but also by recent relevant eleventh-hour actions at the Newark Prudential Center Arena – actions which validate previous calls for an Atlantic Yards security study. Just days before the Newark arena was set to open, the Newark Police Department announced they would close streets around the arena, citing terrorism concerns and security measures. On the decision and necessity of closing those streets, Newark Police Director Garry McCarthy told the Newark Star Ledger, "You can’t construct and arena and put it right against a street in a post 9/11 world." The Atlantic Yards arena would abut two of the major thoroughfares in Brooklyn.
"We are asking for something quite reasonable – that the NYPD provide meaningful information to the public, as they have with the developer, regarding possible dangers and precautions being taken to ensure the safest arena/skyscraper complex possible, and the impacts of any security measures on the community and treasury," said Assembly Member Jim Brennan. "We want to know how the situation in Brooklyn differs from that which has just occurred in Newark."
"The risks are clear and the lack of information that has been shared with us is unacceptable," said Council Member Letitia James. "As a representative of my constituents I take no comfort in this. We need a proper security study now, well before any potential construction starts."
The letter from the eight elected officials was also sent to NYS Deputy Secretary for Public Safety Michael Balboni and Empire State Development Corporation President and CEO Avi Schick. Please click here to view the letter.