The Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund is putting the “green” in Greenpoint with grants totaling $54.5 million

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The Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund is putting the “green” in Greenpoint with grants totaling $54.5 million for projects within the community that spans less than three square miles.

The fund was created in a settlement by ExxonMobil with New York State over the oil spill in Newtown Creek, known as the Greenpoint Oil Spill. The New York State Attorney General’s office, in conjunction with the Department of Environmental Conservation, selected which projects would be funded.

“These projects are reversing Greenpoint’s legacy of environmental abuse and neglect, and creating a brighter, cleaner future for our community,” said Peter Washburn, Policy Advisor for the New York State Office of the Attorney General.

Now with green projects completed or put into motion, Greenpoint is seeing new and reworked spaces to make the community environmentally friendly and healthy. With funds from 46 grants, 40 projects were devoted to that goal. OpenHouse GCEF 2016 is being held on Oct. 15 and will showcase 15 of those projects. Here are a few of the sustainable initiatives locals can enjoy and learn from:

Greenpoint Library Environmental Education Center:

GCEF provided a grant of $5 million to the Brooklyn Public Library, matched by a $6 million grantee contribution to propose an environmental education center. The project has the goal to create an intensive green roof and community composting space and remodel the library to meet LEED Silver Green Certification, reducing its water and air pollution, as well as its energy use.

McGolrick Park Restoration:

McGolrick Park has been revamped to highlight environmental and community amenities, with help from lead sponsor the Horticultural Society of New York. The park now sports a new lawn and pavers that direct storm water into a rain garden. Signs there explain the function of the new green infrastructure that has been installed. This redirects and filters stormwater that would otherwise become polluted before it enters sewers and waterways.

Other new green features include a new native pollinator sanctuary to attract butterflies and bees, offering an ecological benefit and a pretty sight. Fifty community members will become certified gardeners for the sustainable space. Four-legged friends get park perks, too, with restored drainage to the dog run.

The Living Dock:

It’s alive! Visitors to the eastern shore of the “No Name” tributary of Newtown Creek near North Henry Street will notice a landing for small boats that is also a critical habitat for indigenous plants and animals that help improve water quality in the creek. The dock, designed and built by the Newtown Creek Alliance with a $24,980 grant, will act as a prototype for combining remediation strategies, education and public access to the creek, as well as a serve as a spot for research and environmental education.

Soil Cycle:

Students at three Greenpoint schools—Citizens of the World Charter School, John Ericsson MS 126 and Northside Charter School—get to go green and exercise at the same time! Soil Cycle is a mobile compost initiative that uses specially designed cargo bikes to compost organic waste as the rider pedals. This gives students the chance to learn the basics of microbiology and the benefits of urban composting, all while ridding of organic waste collected at their schools.

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