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Is a neighborhood park in Brooklyn worth a half-billion dollars? That may be the ultimate cost of Bushwick Inlet Park, which you’ve probably never heard of. This time of year, it’s full of children from around the city playing soccer. But it’s not much to look at.
Abutting the waterfront in Williamsburg, it consists of a five-acre playing field on what used to be a lot for rental trucks in the shadow of a big, ugly CitiStorage warehouse.
The warehouse and a defunct oil fuel depot next door were to have been bought, knocked down and turned into parkland, 28 acres in all. In 2005, the Bloomberg administration promised the entire park to the neighborhood in exchange for massive, high-end rezoning in Williamsburg and Greenpoint. At that time, city officials imagined a price tag of around $60 million to $90 million.
But through a combination of factors, the city has spent some $225 million — and still has not acquired all the property. That figure already surpasses the High Line’s cost to taxpayers, and the whole park threatens to approach the amount paid for Hudson River Park, which covers 550 acres and is four miles long. […]