Delivering for schools, seniors, nonprofits and more

BY MARGARET S. CHIN  |  On June 28, the New York City Council passed the city’s budget for Fiscal Year 2013. This year’s budget was unique in many respects. In my three years serving on the City Council, I have never seen so many community members raise their voices against the mayor’s cuts to childcare, after-school and essential services in our city.

With your help, the Council was able to restore massive cuts to after-school and childcare programs in Chinatown and the Lower East Side. In fact, our community actually gained an after-school program, which will serve P.S. 126. I want to thank everyone that came out to show their support over the last few months: We could not have done it without you.

I would like to take this opportunity to update residents on the exciting capital projects and programs that I was able to fund in this year’s budget. This year, I was able to secure $3.9 million to fund capital projects in District 1 and nearly half a million dollars for youth, senior and cultural programs in our community. This is in addition to contributions from Speaker Christine Quinn and my colleagues in the Council’s Manhattan delegation, which will also support programs and services in Lower Manhattan.

I am happy to announce several large capital grants to improve our Downtown schools and ensure our students have the best learning environment possible. The number one request from our elementary schools is for upgrades to existing technology. This year, P.S. 134 will receive new laptops and printers; P.S. 137’s computer lab will be upgraded; P.S. 20 and P.S. 2 will receive SmartBoards; and P.S. 142 will receive new classroom computers. These improvements will be accomplished with grants from my office ranging from $40,000 to $75,000.

In addition, P.S. 130 will receive new desktops in their computer lab, as well as new technology to specifically serve special-needs classes. P.S 124, the Yung Wing School, will receive $100,000 for building renovations and technology upgrades; and P.S. 110 will receive funds to conduct a study of potential building improvements, including a green roof. M.S. 131 students and their parents will receive computer workshops through a partnership with the Computers for Youth Foundation.

I am also pleased to allocate funding to five local high schools: $60,000 to Urban Assembly Academy of Government and Law for upgrades to its art room; $58,000 to L.E.S. Prep for a new P.A. system; $35,000 to Marta Valle High School for the creation of a video production studio; $45,000 to New Design High School for technology upgrades; and $75,000 to University Neighborhood High School for upgrades to its library and media center.

In this year’s budget I also funded several important improvements to our neighborhood. Sara D. Roosevelt Park will receive $500,000 for new bathrooms; Forsyth Plaza, alongside and underneath the Manhattan Bridge, will receive $200,000 for its streetscape and improvements; DeSalvio Playground in Soho will receive $70,000 toward its play area; and the Lower East Side Business Improvement District will receive $138,000 for safety and lighting improvements on Delancey St. To help combat a string of robberies in Chinatown’s Jewelry District, I will provide $100,000 for Police Department security cameras on Doyers and Catherine Sts. and along the Bowery. In addition, I have allocated $12,000 to New York City Housing Authority tenant associations in our district to help pay for family days and other events.

As always, it is imperative that we support the local organizations and nonprofits that aid underserved communities in our district. In the year ahead, Chinatown Manpower Project will receive a capital grant of $83,000. Citywide capital grants were also awarded to Henry Street Settlement, for $500,000; Educational Alliance, for $2.25 million; and the Lower Eastside Girls Club, for $910,000, to allow these organizations to continue their good work in the community and citywide.

Additional grants will support local organizations that serve those in need, including Asian Americans for Equality, Good Old Lower East Side (GOLES), Manhattan Legal Services, MFY Legal Services, NYLAG, MET Council on Jewish Poverty, New York Rescue Mission, Urban Justice Center, and Tenants and Neighbors. This year, I will also continue my support for Charles B. Wang’s hepatitis B awareness and prevention program, the Asian & Pacific Islander Coalition on H.I.V./AIDS, and for the New York Alliance Against Sexual Assault.

Once again, I was happy to support an array of senior services in our community. Discretionary grants from my office will support programming at Chinese-American Planning Council, Educational Alliance, Grand Street Settlement, Greenwich House, Greater Chinatown Community Association, Hamilton-Madison House, Henry Street Settlement, Japanese American Social Services, University Settlement, and the Institute for Puerto Rican/Hispanic Elderly. This funding will help provide E.S.L. classes, adult computer classes, art classes, transportation, meals and a variety of recreational activities to help keep our seniors active and healthy. In addition, grants were provided to the Mott St. and LaGuardia Senior Centers through New York Foundation for Seniors, as well as to the United Jewish Council, to support their adult lunch program.

It’s equally important to provide programs and services that cater to our youth and keep them safe and engaged in the after-school and summer months. I am pleased to provide funding to support Asian Professional Extension’s test preparation and basketball program; the Youth Leadership Program run by Asian American Coalition for Children and Families; L.E.S. Girls Club; the Sol Lain Athletic Club; New York Junior Tennis League; and the YMCA. American Ballet Theatre’s “ABT at School” and Chess in the Schools will introduce public school students to new and exciting activities; and the violin program at Hamilton-Madison House and instruction in traditional Chinese instruments at the Mencius Society will help inspire a new generation of musicians.

It is incredibly important to me that all our kids have a safe and secure environment to turn to for support. To this end, I have funded programs for L.G.B.T.Q. youth at Chinese-American Planning Council and the Hetrick-Martin Institute on Astor Place; as well as after-school programs that provide prevocational and work-readiness training for homeless youth and for blind and visually impaired young people.

This year, I was happy to support Downtown Community Television Center with $40,000 toward upgrades to its post-production equipment. DCTV also received $75,000 in citywide funding from the entire Council. Soho Think Tank, which promotes independent theater, received a $32,000 capital grant. In conjunction with my colleagues in the Manhattan delegation, $1.1 million in capital funding was provided to the Lower East Side Tenement Museum. In the year ahead, discretionary grants will support the Soho Repertory Theater, New York Asian Women’s Center, and the Washington Square Association Music Fund’s free concert series.

Over the last three years, the amount of resources available to our community has continued to grow. I remain dedicated to fighting for the resources to support the projects and programs that keep our community strong and vibrant.

Chin is city councilmember for the First District (Lower Manhattan, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and parts of Greenwich Village, the Lower East Side and East Village)

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3 Responses to Delivering for schools, seniors, nonprofits and more

  1. These are all great funding appropriations, but unfortunately, except for the tilt toward Chinatown, they are nothing that any person elected to this position wouldn't have scored. They are the no-brainers.The real measure of our council person is their stance on NYU's land-grab, preserving local historic sites, and the creation of quasi-governmental BIDs throughout the district. The jury is still out, but I'm not seeing how a vote for re-election is in the offing. Listing a string of how one doles out the $ perks seems like a sad self-promotion before the bad news is broken to the voters of this district. Where's the right stance on the big issues of the district?

  2. Couldn’t agree more with the first reader’s comment.

    It’s time for Councilmember Chin to show some true grit.

    The entire community has spoken. Asked to review the largest ULURP
    proposal in the history of Greenwich Village that is NYU 2031,
    Community Board 2 has spoken, rejecting the plan unanimously. Its final
    report, available for all to review online, is a remarkable document in
    its attention to detail, outlining all of the devastating quality of
    life and health effects that the overreaching expansion would have on
    the immediate neighborhood and beyond. The Greenwich Village Society
    for Historic Preservation (GVSHP) has also spoken, issuing a document
    no less impressive in its thoroughness, tackling everything from
    environmental risks to documented commute times, proving once and for
    all that dorms can and should be built, if absolutely necessary, in
    nearby neighborhoods that actually welcome new development rather than
    the residential blocks for which they are currently proposed. Has NY
    not always been a commuter city, and is NYU not a “local network
    university” (as its new CUSP initiative in Brooklyn testifies), as well
    as a Global Network University, extending as far as Abu Dhabi and
    Shanghai? Community Action Alliance on NYU, along with the Tennants’
    Association, have spoken. The Save WSV Sasaki Garden Committee and its
    many constituents in and around the two towers-in-the-park residential
    blocks have spoken. The LaGuardia Corner Garden members have spoken.
    BAMRA (the Bleecker Area Merchants and Residents Association) and the
    Villagers for a Sustainable Neighborhood, a group comprising over 50
    small local business and led by Judy Paul, C.E.O. of the Washington
    Square Hotel, have spoken out about the plan’s aggressive scale. Local
    politicians, from State Senator Tom Douane and State Assemblywoman
    Deborah Glick to the office of Congressman Jerrold Nadler have spoken.
    And NYU’s very own faculty — me among them — have spoken, loud and
    clear. As many as 36 Schools, Centers and Departments have voted
    against the expansion due to its unjustified academic rationale,
    enormous cost (to say nothing of the absence of a business plan),
    tuition and student debt repercussions, and the grave health threats
    posed to the entire neighborhood, one that many faculty families also
    call home. The majority voted unanimously. NYUFASP (NYU Faculty Against
    the Sexton Plan) alone has over 400 members, including a number of
    NYU’s most prominent University Professors and Silver Professors. This
    show of faculty opposition to the administration’s extraordinary
    recklessness is astonishing by any measure — in fact, it is
    unprecedented.

    In short, both the Village and NYU communities have gone far beyond
    what could ever have been expected of us to voice our opposition to
    this overwhelming plan – many of us, not least of all the faculty of
    NYU (in opposing not only our employer but also our landlord), doing so
    with great risk to our livelihoods.

    Pres. Sexton was not elected to his position. He was appointed.
    Margaret Chin and her colleagues on the City Council, to a person, were
    elected to their positions. They are OUR chosen public representatives.
    We have done our part. We have spoken, offering principled solutions to
    NYU’s academic (as opposed to commercial and gym needs) but also the
    community’s needs, first and foremost, going forward. Now, it is time
    for the people that we voted into office – and whom we trust to
    advocate for our interests and our rights – to do theirs.

  3. We know that your intentions are good and I appreciated that too much. There is nothing more we can offer to our children but a quality education.

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