Harlem board votes for Columbia plan amendments
by amy zimmer / metro new york
AUG 21, 2007
HARLEM. Members of Community Board 9 last night voted to support a proposal by Columbia University to redevelop the area only if the school abided by 10 conditions.
For example, they want Columbia to build on property it owns and obtained without coercion or eminent domain, to develop an anti-displacement program for residents in their district, to preserve historic buildings and to design eco-friendly facilities.
The vote “represents the true sentiment of the community that Columbia can’t have its cake and eat it, too,” said Nellie Hester Bailey, of the Harlem Tenants Council. “Columbia must compromise.”
Though the vote is only advisory, she believed it will pressure elected officials to listen to their constituents.
City Councilman Robert Jackson wasn’t surprised by the vote.
“I’m looking for the negotiations to really begin in this process now,” he said.
Joseph Ienuso, executive vice president of Columbia’s facilities, is hopeful that the university and the community will sit down together.
“If the community wants to negotiate in good faith with a partner, Columbia is a good choice,” he said. “We’ve been in the community for more than 100 years and we plan to stay.”