The Gowanus Canal Conservancy held a public meeting in Carroll Gardens this week to unveil renderings for a park and esplanade that would run along the Gowanus canal. The project’s dubbed Sponge Park because planners hope it will help absorb some of the raw sewage that currently contaminates the canal during heavy rainfall. (Brownstoner believes oily runoff from the nearby Gowanus Expressway is another big problem.) The idea is that when the canal is finally cleaned up sometime after 2020, Sponge Park will help keep it clean, or at least clean-ish.

The park is also conceived as the centerpiece of the ongoing transformation of the neighborhood from post-industrial wild west to residential hotspot. Gowanus Lounge is a bit skeptical of the project – which could take at least ten years – because much of the land Sponge Park would traverse is privately owned, including an old power plant that’s now on the market for $20 million. And the area has yet to be rezoned for residential use; though of course that’s not stopping other developers from planning for condos and additional park.