Honoring the Past, Building the Future
The Flatbush African Burial Ground Remembrance and Redevelopment Task Force is leading an effort to build community-based recommendations on how to honor the African burial ground and serve the neighborhood with 100% affordable housing, youth-programming, and other neighborhood amenities.
In October 2020, Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Member Mathieu Eugene announced plans to transform a site on the corner of Bedford and Church Avenues into affordable homes and youth-focused programming. This effort is being led by an interagency City team and the Flatbush African Burial Ground Remembrance and Redevelopment Task Force. Read more about the project team and timeline.
The Guiding Force
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and City Council Member Mathieu Eugene convened and co-chaired the Task Force in late 2020 as a collaborative effort with HPD to engage the community through public workshops. Through these workshops and continued engagement, the City and the Task Force aim to gather public input on how to collaboratively and meaningfully honor the history of the site and plan for its future.
This public input will guide recommendations on memorialization of the site’s history, proper treatment of any additional human remains, if discovered, and other aspects of the future project. The recommendations will be summarized in a report to be issued in the fall of 2021.
In 2001, archeological testing of the grounds of the Bedford-Church site uncovered fragments of human remains and other artifacts, which indicates that a burial ground for people of African ancestry once existed adjacent to and on a portion of the site. At the time of discovery, the human remains were reburied at the Flatbush Reformed Church in their consecrated cemetery. Read more about the site history here.
It Takes a Community
The involvement of the broader Flatbush community is vital for the project to meet current needs and fully and appropriately honor the history of enslaved and free Africans of early Flatbush. Community members have had and will have multiple opportunities to support the shaping of the recommendations, including:
- Viewing livestreamed Task Force meetings that took place from December 2020 through September 2021
- Filling out a community questionnaire, now closed, about memorialization and the future affordable housing project
- Attending and providing feedback through virtual community workshops that took place in June and July
- Attending Public Report Back Events that took place in September, and summarized the priorities and insights gathered through community engagement
This process will lead to the release of a Report that will be incorporated into the Request for Proposals (RFP). Both documents will be released in the fall of 2021 to a set of qualified developers, selected through a Request for Qualifications (RFQ). The prospective development team will be selected, in part, based on their ability to incorporate the community-guided recommendations summarized in the Report into their proposal. The team selected through the RFP process will continue to refine their initial proposal through continued engagement with the descendant community and local stakeholders. This continued engagement will ensure the final project meets the goals and priorities put forth by community members.