Located in Brooklyn’s Northside section of Williamsburg, the former firehouse will become home to both Neighbors Allied for Good Growth (NAG) and The People’s Firehouse (PFI). The two organizations have historically served with dedicated action and activism while continually shaping North Brooklyn to benefit the diverse and vibrant community. NAG is a volunteer-based community planning and environmental justice organization that has been performing grassroots organizing, advocacy and outreach/education to the North Brooklyn waterfront community of Williamsburg/Greenpoint since 1994. PFI has provided 34 years of community leadership in the fight and preservation of EC 212 and offers a broad spectrum of advocacy and affordable housing development, diverse social and legal tenant services, education and vocational training and energy conservation programs to the residents of the Williamsburg/Greenpoint neighborhoods. The Firehouse (formerly the Northside Town Hall Community and Cultural Center) board was officially formed on May 20, 2009, and the organization was granted tax-exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofit status the following year.
The strengths and skills of NAG and PFI complement each other, and together will provide a strong set of on-site services in organizing and advocating for the community. PFI will continue to operate programs in housing/property management, tenant advocacy, energy efficiency and home weatherization, fire prevention assistance, workforce development services, computer training, and English as a Second Language. NAG will operate ongoing programs in the areas of community planning and development, preserving local jobs, improving the State Park (whose establishment NAG led), fighting against low-income tenant displacement and harassment, assuring that local construction is performed safely and legally, and other issues to help preserve and enhance the community.
The two organizations bring a unique legacy of community leadership to the redevelopment of the site. With the history of both long-term engagement with the Engine 212 building itself and bridge-building between community advocacy/service groups and local cultural organizations the partnership will work to preserve the site's character, highlighting it's historical and emerging community services.
In developing the cultural component of the site we will work collectively with community-based arts and cultural organizations to develop. The Firehouse will foster civic and cultural engagement with original arts programming, community gatherings, and by providing affordable space for artists and organizations with a focus on, but not limited to, local art and activism leading to community success.