Gowanus Residents Gather To Save Gowanus Station Building At Candlelight Vigil

Gowanus residents Linda Mariano and Brad Vogel
Salvatore and Lena Tagliavia, owners of 234 Butler Street
Salvatore and Lena Tagliavia with their employees who will likely lose their jobs if the city takes the property by eminent domain.
Gowanus  residents gathered last night at 6:30 pm to hold a candlelight vigil in front of the beautiful former City of New York Water Supply Distribution Gowanus Station building at 234 Butler Street  in an effort to prevent its demolition.
They were joined by the building’s owners Salvatore and Lena Tagliavia, employees of Sanitation Repairs, Inc., and representatives of  Spoke The Hub and Koko, NYC, who are housed in the building.

This two-story beaux-arts style building, built in 1913 by the Department of Water Supply, Gas and Electricity, not only reflects the larger context of Gowanus as one of the earliest and busiest industrial and manufacturing centers in this country, it is also unique for being the only building that actually bears the name of the neighborhood.

Yet, it will most likely be torn down if the New York City Department of Environmental Protection Agency has its way, despite overwhelming community opposition.
The building happens to sit in the footprint on one of three parcels  D.E. P. aims to acquire by eminent domain to build an 8 million gallon Combined Sewer Overflow tank and facility head house.

The residents made clear last night that the vigil was not in opposition to the CSO tank. Instead, they “support construction of the tank, but there are creative design alternatives that would permit retention of the historic Gowanus Station building as a key part of neighborhood identity.”

The City Council will vote today on approving the acquisition of the three lots.  Yesterday, I sent the following letter to Councilmembers Brad Lander and Stephen Levin  to urge them to vote “NO” on the matter.

Dear Council Members Lander and Levin,

I am urging you to vote “NO” on the Gowanus CSO tank land use item that I believe will be on the agenda for tomorrow’s Council meeting for the following reasons:

-Taking of land by eminent domain from one of our fellow community members is just wrong when other land parcels are currently for sale across the street.

New York City’s Department of Environmental Protection’s cost for the proposed Gowanus ‘head-of-the canal’ CSO site alone now far exceeds the cost for the entire Environmental Protection Agency clean-up of the canal. DEP is over-designing, over-engineering and over-spending, turning a simple EPA mandated 8 million gallon CSO tank into a complex Sewage Waste Facility Treatment Plant right in our neighborhood.
(At a recent meeting, DEP estimated the cost for both tanks to $1.2 Billion

-The EPA has not yet approved any aspect of DEP’s design for the CSO facility at the head of the canal. 

I urge you to demand answers from DEP on why the agency has inflated the cost of the project so irresponsibly and why tax and water rate payers should bear the cost for a sewage treatment facility when a simple retention tank was all we (and EPA) asked for.
Until you can give your constituents convincing and truthful answers, please vote NO tomorrow.
Sincerely, Katia Kelly

For more background on this issue, click here:

Despite Overwhelming Community Advocacy To Save The Iconic Gowanus Station Building On Butler Street, New York City Determined To Demolish It

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