Letters, April 25, 2013

Letter on NID needs clarification

To The Editor:
Re “NID is flawed, abuses law” (letter, by Nicole Vianna, April 11):

I am an owner of a co-op in the proposed neighborhood improvement district (NID) for Hudson River Park and also serve proudly as co-chairperson of the NID Steering Committee and as vice chairperson of Friends of Hudson River Park.

I would like to address some concerns raised by Nicole Vianna in her letter to the editor.

First, the NID is required to provide a minimum of 60 percent of its budget directly to the Hudson River Park Trust on a yearly basis as stated in the NID district plan. The money will be allocated for approved maintenance and operations items in the Hudson River Park Trust’s budget. This budget is created and approved yearly through meetings that are open to the public.  Moreover, the board of directors of the NID can audit the Trust on a yearly basis to account for the funds provided.

Second, debt service would not take precedence over budget items. The 60 percent of funds that are dedicated to the Trust cannot be superseded by debt service — this money is guaranteed to the Trust on a yearly basis. The option to borrow is an ability many improvement districts have in order to efficiently pay for cost-intensive capital projects. The NID foresees very few projects (if any) that would require borrowing — a pedestrian bridge over the highway might be one such project. However, the debt service on any project will never diminish the money that will go for park maintenance and operations.

Third, the NID will actually strengthen the opportunity for neighborhoods to determine how resources are used.  The NID’s board of directors will be composed of members from your local neighborhood — residential and commercial owners, residential and commercial tenants, and community board representatives. Board members will be voted on at annual, open meetings. Moreover, the NID’s scope of services has been designed not to duplicate or replace the work that local groups and associations are already doing. Improvement districts actually empower local organizations, residents, and businesses by providing the resources to accomplish projects they identify to be of local need.

I encourage everyone to visit our Web site: www.HRPNID.org for more information and to sign our petition in support of this very important project.
Scott M. Lawin
Lawin is co-chairperson, Hudson River Park Neighborhood Improvement District Steering Committee

How about ‘moving on up?’

To The Editor:
Re “Johnson and Rajkumar win V.I.D.’s backing for Council” (news article, April 18):

I read your coverage of District Leader Jenifer Rajkumar’s intention to unseat City Councilmember Margaret Chin through a Democratic primary. Being a descendant of a Tammany Hall politician, I laughed: In Tammany’s “corrupt” system, if a district leader wanted to replace his alderman, he got them promoted to Judge.

Can Rajkumar make Chin a judge? So much for the reform movement.
Billy Sternberg

Excited about charter school

To The Editor:
Re “Charges over charters fly as Eva enters Wash. Irving” (news article, April 4):

The only critics of Success Academy are the teachers union. I live in Stuyvesant Town but not in the P.S. 40 zone. The school choices for my daughter are horrific. I am so excited that she has been accepted to kindergarten at the new Union Square location. Washington Irving has been an eyesore in the community for years. I hope the entire high school program goes away in that building and we can take back the neighborhood for the smaller children who need a clean, safe and challenging learning space.
Ilene Frankel

G.O.P. club prez on CHARAS

To The Editor:
Gregg Singer has gotten approval from Community Board 3 for his plan to convert the old P.S. 64 — a 157,000-square-foot building between Avenues B and C on Ninth St. — into private college dormitories. It is an exceptional building of great architectural significance, 106 years old. It has been vacant for 12 years since Mr. Singer bought it in a city auction for $3.2 million. Gregg later ripped the window treatments off to try to stymie landmarking efforts.

The community was blocking his efforts to convert the building into a college dormitory for N.Y.U. and Baruch. The community wanted to extract amenities from the developer, like community space to replace the CHARAS/El Bohio Cultural and Community Center that he evicted from the building in 1999.

I moved onto E. Ninth St. a few years ago and have followed this issue very closely, and have tried to help resolve it.

Will the community end up with some semblance of a restoration of this space and these services? Losing them left a big wound that has yet to heal. There are still a lot of angry people. It would be a real shame if our community, spearheaded by our city councilwoman, failed in our effort to rectify the mistake that was made by Giuliani when he allowed this building to be sold to a private interest.

The building sat unused for 12 years, with many demonstrations in between. I sincerely hope that we get something for all that effort. It reflects very poorly on our incumbent political leadership if we don’t.
Steve Sinclair
Sinclair is president, Progress Republican Club

I couldn’t agree more

To The Editor:
Re “Johnson and Rajkumar win V.I.D.’s backing for Council” (news article, April 18):

I agree with Tony Hoffmann. The vote for Jenifer Rajkumar was “about N.Y.U.” and the actions of the current councilwoman.
Sylvia Rackow

Uncle Al’s loss leaves a void

To The Editor:
Re “Al D’Avanzo, 76, architect and a founder of BAMRA” (obituary, April 18):

Thank you for posting this tribute to my Uncle Albert. I’m William D’Avanzo, Al’s godson and Victor’s (quoted in the obituary) much younger brother. As with the effect on BAMRA, the loss of our uncle leaves a very big void in our family. New York City is better for his efforts, and our hearts are fuller for his presence in our lives, though they ache now for our loss.
William D’Avanzo

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2 Responses to Letters, April 25, 2013

  1. As co-chair of the Steering Committee of the HRP NID, maybe Lawin has seen a significantly updated version of the HRP NID District Plan; my letter of April 11 was based on the 3/15/13 draft District Plan, which is the only version available to the public. Pages 30 (holdbacks of the 60%) and 37 (priority of debt service over all other budget items) give the facts relayed in my 4/11 letter. Everyone in the proposed District should read the District Plan at http://www.hrpnid.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/… instead of sales pitches before signing either petition (ours is linked at http://nohrpnid.blogspot.com/ ).

  2. The draft District Plan does not specify the number of BID Board representatives for each category of member or any required geographic diversity, an significant omission for a District that is almost five miles long. There are approximately 8,000 property owners in addition to countless commercial tenants and renters that will be eligible for the in-person only voting at the annual meeting. Where will it be held, the Javits Center? How would an ordinary individual get the name and platform recognition across the entire District to get elected? Yes, Mr. Lawin, Improvement Districts can empower locals, but only if the Improvement District is local and the NID, at five miles long and 1/3 mile wide, is not.

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