Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Chairman Reyes-Montblanc Testimony on Columbia University 197-c Plan at Manhattan Borough President's Public Hearing September 19th 2007

565 West 125th Street New York, NY 10027
Tel: (212) 864-6200 Fax: 212-662-7396

Hon. Jordi Reyes-Montblanc, Chairman,
Mr. Lawrence T. McClean, District Manager,

J. Reyes-Montblanc

Manhattan Borough President
Hon. Scott Stringer’s

Public Hearing
Columbia University’s 197-c Plan
Aaron Davis Hall, Marian Anderson Theatre
September 19, 2007

Honorable Manhattan Borough President, Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good Evening

My name is Jordi Reyes-Montblanc and I am the Chairman of Manhattan Community Board No. 9.

First I would like to express my thanks to all those attending these proceedings and testifying tonight for or against the Columbia University 197-c Plan.

Personally I welcome the expansion of the university into West Manhattanville. I believe that CU can be a major benefit to our community and that our community can be a great resource for CU.

Having said that, I will remind everyone that CU has been a member of the WestSide Harlem community for over 100 years, for those who do not know, Morningside Heights is the southernmost neighborhood of West Harlem.

However, I must say that although I have great hopes for a close and fruitful partnership between Columbia and West Harlem, there are still some obstacles to overcome on both sides. The community must get over its suspicion and dread of the Columbia expansion and Columbia must overcome the feelings that they know better what is good for West Harlem and our diverse multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multilingual community.

The use of eminent domain or even the threat of eminent domain MUST be removed. CB9M stands firmly and unequivocally on that principle. We will support any owner of properties that refuses to sell and stand with them against eminent domain use for the private benefit of another private entity.

Columbia’s failure to meaningfully discuss and negotiate with CB9M regarding the land use issues that do not meet CB9M’s 197-a Plan standards has been a lost opportunity to help develop the trust and partnership Columbia indicated was their objective.

The total lack of consideration for our 197-a Plan is a great strategic and tactical loss for the University.

The undefined uses of buildings of mammoth proportions equals a request for a “blank check” and we are to trust that CU will do the right thing for the community – Not gonna happen!.

I totally disapprove of the Columbia 197-c Plan…. UNLESS… Columbia revises its 197-c Plan to more closely conform with the goals and objectives of CB9M’s 197-a Plan as specified in CB9M’s ULURP Resolution passed by the General Board on August 20th 2007, copy attached.



J. Reyes-Montblanc

CB9M WestSide Harlem
Serving: *Morningside Heights * Manhattanville * Hamilton Heights *

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