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Council Hearing on Prospect Heights Tomorrow

The designation of the Prospect Heights Historic District is almost complete. Tomorrow the City Council’s Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Siting and Maritime Uses will hold a hearing on the designation. With 850 buildings, the district is the largest designated in two decades. It’s also one of the city’s finest unprotected brownstone districts, with blocks of beautiful late-19th and early 20th-century residential buildings (for detailed information, read the LPC’s incredible 488-page designation report). Given the strong support of Council Member Letitia James, we expect the Council to uphold the designation, but MAS will be on hand to urge the Council to affirm the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s designationRead our statement here. MAS made a video about the process of creating the historic district, featuring Councilmember Letitia James, Chair of the Landmarks Preservation Commission Robert B. Tierney, historian Francis Morrone, and Gib Veconi of Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council (PHNDC), and showing how we worked with PHNDC to survey the historic buildings and promote the area for designation. The result was not just the designation; the act of engaging residents in the process brought the community together and provided a new sense of neighborhood identity. In 2006, the Municipal Art Society began working with communities surrounding the proposed Atlantic Yards development as part of our advocacy efforts. Residents of Prospect Heights made it clear that they wanted their neighborhood landmarked. In order to engage residents in the process, MAS provided a basic training program for neighborhood residents on historic building survey techniques. Over 20 local volunteers took to the streets to catalog and photograph roughly 1,100 buildings. MAS staff converted this information into a map using its in-house Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology. In early 2007, the two groups submitted a comprehensive report to the Landmarks Preservation Commission, including the database, photographs and a proposal for a historic district.