Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Stringer Advocates Responsible Expansion - In Address, Says CU Plan Will Create Jobs, But Must Not Sweep Away Neighborhood

Nick Sprayregen wrote:

From: Nick Sprayregen
To: "Jordi (George) Reyes-Montblanc" reysmont@yahoo.com
Subject: Boro Springer's Support of Our Community.
Date: Wed, 14 Feb 2007 04:01:16 -0500

Stringer Advocates Responsible Expansion
In Address, Says CU Plan Will Create Jobs, But Must Not Sweep Away Neighborhood

by Jimmy Vielkind
Issue date: 2/13/07 Section: News
Posted: 2/13/07

It's a time of unprecedented opportunity for Manhattanites, Borough President Scott M. Stringer said yesterday during a speech, but also a precarious time during which borough residents should walk carefully along the line between continued growth and "fear that the borough we love might well disappear."

Speaking in the City Council chamber before an audience including most of the Council's Manhattan delegation, Stringer-a former assemblyman who was elected borough president a little over a year ago-used his first State of the Borough address to review past successes and achievements, and unveil new initiatives.

He boasted of reforming the borough's twelve community boards to reduce vacancies and political patronage, making the zoning and planning processes which underpin citizen involvement in urban growth more transparent and accessible to all residents, and cracking down on illegal advertising. He also announced a new public health plan for East Harlem and an expansion of his after-school sports league for youth.

"One thing that unites New Yorkers is the magnitude of our dreams," he said. "That's why, every day, people arrive here to paint their ambitions on our landscape.""But while our success is incredibly exciting, it is also a bit difficult to absorb," he said.

Stringer cited several projects from Tribeca to Sherman Creek, and specifically referenced Columbia's proposed expansion into Manhattanville, agreeing in principle with the University's growth, but warning it must be done responsibly.

"Harlem residents will have a major say in Columbia's planned expansion," he began, before iterating, "I support Columbia's desire to grow to meet its 21st century educational and research goals."

"The University's expansion will create jobs and has many potential benefits for our city. However, projects of this magnitude have swept away entire neighborhoods, something that must never again be imposed on any Manhattan community, especially not this one."

Stringer's remarks were consistent with positions he has taken on expansion in the past, though he has sometimes taken a harsher tone toward the University in other venues. He promised at a meeting of the Coalition to Preserve Community last year not to let Columbia "run roughshod over this community," saying, "Columbia left to their own devices has a 30-year record of evicting tenants, of not dealing with the community."

In Monday's address, he said, "Columbia's expansion must add value to the entire neighborhood," promising he would "be a driving force to bring people together and forge consensus for this project."

University President Lee Bollinger attended the speech alongside two senior Columbia officials directing expansion efforts: Robert Kasdin, the senior executive vice president, and Maxine Griffith, vice president for government and community affairs.

The three applauded Stringer's remarks, and a Columbia spokesman later said in a statement, ""We agree with the borough president that Columbia's initiative is one of city-wide economic and intellectual importance. We also look forward to continuing our discussions about how Columbia can continue to strengthen the neighboring communities of northern Manhattan for many years to come."

© Copyright 2007 Columbia Daily Spectator

Nick Sprayregen, President Tuck-It-Away Self-Storage 3261 Broadway, NYC, NY 10027

1 comment:

JRM said...

The following comment from the Neighborhood Retail Alliance Blog
http://momandpopnyc.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Stringer on Columbia's Responsibility
In yesterday's Spectator there is a report on the state of the borough speech that was given by BP Stringer. In the speech Stringer, in commenting on the expansion plans of Columbia university, warned that "...'projects of this magnitude have swept away entire neighborhoods, something that must never again be imposed on any Manhattan community, especially not this one.'"

This is a strong and welcome statement but, as the saying goes, the devil is in the details. The lack of specificity here, while understandable because of the nature of the address, was applauded by the representatives of the university who attended the event. Creating a real consensus, however, may mean asking the university to do some things that it is not apparently ready or willing to do today.

Still, Stringer's promise to "be a driving force to bring people together and forge a consensus for this project" is indeed a positive development and we will be looking to see if the BP is willing to step up and forge the kind of consensus that preserves local businesses and adds to the stock of affordable housing for a neighborhood that, if nothing is done, will be pushed aside for the new glittering campus.


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