(09/15/06) BROOKLYN - City government boasts its one-year-old program to clean up Brooklyn's Bushwick neighborhood has been successful, while residents Thursday complained the plan is far from perfect.
Created in 2005, the Bushwick Initiative is the city's effort to clean up the 20 square-block area surrounding Maria Hernandez Park. The goals of the program are to improve living conditions, remove drug dealing, and increase economic opportunities. Of the nearly 750 buildings in the neighborhood, the city rated more than 100 as having poor living conditions. City officials say that more than 7,000 housing violations have been fixed since the beginning of the program. Officials also say that drug dealing has been cut in half during that time.
The progress has not come without a price. Immigrant tenants are accusing landlords of being ignored and having to wait longer than others to have housing violations fixed. Long-tenured residents, meanwhile, are saying that the city's project is forcing them out of their homes.