Lower Concourse North Parks Sell Out

September 24th, 2017 Posted in Blogs, Front Page News, Harlem River BOA, Harlem River Long Term Control Plan, Harlem River Working Group, In the News, Lower Concourse North, Pier 5

Known as having the worst air quality and highest asthma rates in the country, the South Bronx continually receives a failing grade from the American Lung Association. Nowhere in the City’s plans is a way to mitigate this crisis. On the other hand, parks, real parks, are a proven way to mitigate this crisis. The most heavily used park in the area is Mill Pond Park – a clear indication of the needed expansion. There are not enough other parks in the lower South Bronx . Coupled with a lazy administration that seeks to grab free, public land and stubbornly refusing to consider any alternative sites, the public suffers. Parroting the time-worn “economic development and jobs” is the ultimate insult to we who know better.

The City Planning Commission presented the changed city policy in its chilling decision:  “The Commission believes that the disposition of underutilized City-owned land will be part of a citywide effort to create the capacity to build new affordable housing for a mix of incomes which is crucial in addressing the pressing demand for more accessible housing opportunities.”  Free land is a good giveaway to favored developers. Parkland is an easy way to build whatever you want wherever you want. Parkland, by the way, is a low cost method to mitigate the air and water pollution stated above.

The Parks Commissioner really fell for the deal.  In an extraordinary spin of the disappearing parkland, he claims: “NYC Parks is committed to expanding waterfront access along the Harlem River and improving open space,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP. “The Lower Concourse North project will help achieve these goals by providing the community with new open space; it puts us closer to a more continuous waterfront esplanade, and presents an opportunity to address their requests to further vitalize the area with more amenities.”

Yet, this proposal is doubling down by adding the taking and using real parkland in a secret unheard of deal to meet the privately owned open space criteria. In the end, it is the public who loses as there is 5 or 8 acres of parkland that is no more.  But don’t worry they are making a park down the block. That’s right — the City is going to BUY that land from a current business person – and probably pay both the landowner to relocate them and the EDC broker who’s deal it is.  They mapped that parkland in 2009 as an old promise for more parks. Meanwhile the favored developer is getting the land he is building on for FREE.

The only hope for the community is to build more parks and better mass transit.

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