Thursday, May 3, 2007

Council: Is $500,000 Underground Railroad Study Bogus?

City Council members Monday criticized a $500,000 report commissioned by the city’s Economic Development Corporation that found "no conclusive evidence to support claims that seven houses along Duffield and Gold streets in Downtown Brooklyn were involved in Underground Railroad activities," according to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. These houses are in the footprint of parts of the Downtown Brooklyn Plan. An eminent domain hearing is scheduled for May 22.

Several council members questioned whether consulting firm AKRF was qualified to do the research, and if the job was subject to competitive bidding. Councilman Charles Barron criticized AKRF for not hiring an archeologist to investigate claims that the homes were connected by tunnels and had other unusual features, such as extra stoves, escape chutes etc.

Eagle story has many more details here.

Photo of 233 Duffield Street by Brooklyn photojournalist MK Metz.

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