Come summertime, triangular stretches of sidewalk around the neighborhood will offer places to sit down for a meal, or even space to shop in a small flea market.
Putnam Triangle, the area bounded by Fulton Street and Putnam and Grand avenues, will receive a green paint job, new planters and a temporary pedestrian plaza this summer, the Fulton Business Alliance — known as FAB — announced last week.
Fowler Square at Fulton Street and Lafayette Avenue will also be totally redesigned as part of the project. Gates Triangle Park at Vanderbilt Avenue and “Seven Corners” between Fulton, S. Oxford Streets, and Greene Avenue will also be similarly renovated throughout the summer.
“We’re very interested in improving and increasing the amount of green and open space in the area,” FAB Alliance Manager Phillip Kellogg said. “They’re underutilized and could be used to bring out more people to support local businesses.”
Kellog said that the Gates Triangle will remain enclosed by the fence that surrounds it, but that the curb will be extended and more green space added. Councilwoman Letitia James, D-Fort Greene, secured $400,000 in funds for this and the “Seven Corners” renovations. The Department of Transportation will fund part of the renovations of the other two parks.
Owner of Olivino Wines, Katerine Pollari, said the improvements should liven up the relatively desolate and unappealing swaths of sidewalk.
“In the best of worlds we’ll see tables and chairs out for people to sit and eat in the summer,”said Pollari, who serves on the board of FAB.
Still, Pollari conceded that FAB always has its fair share of critics.
“FAB has had a few naysayers because of the tax [it imposes on business owners],” she said.
Indeed, from its inception in 2009, FAB has faced many naysayers — a lot even for a business improvement district, which are often controversial — who allege that the group has had no visible impact on the neighborhood. Now, with the triangle park renovations in the works, some former opponents are coming around.
“In the beginning I was fighting to get FAB out of here,” said Rocky Widdi, owner of the on Fulton St. “It’s here and I have no choice, so I have to make it worth my money. And what’s the problem with more green space? There’s nothing wrong with that.”