Volume 80, Number 41 | March 10 -16, 2011
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933
It’s all in the name
The news this week that the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation will begin the lengthy process of establishing a sunset plan is both welcome and long awaited. This newspaper has long been advocating for such a scenario.
First we must acknowledge the vital role the agency played in bringing the Lower Manhattan neighborhood back to life. And second, we must congratulate the Empire State Development Corporation, the L.M.D.C.’s parent agency, for recognizing that the time has come to set forth guidelines to pare down, and eventually eliminate, a bureaucracy that no longer has a full mission.
As the L.M.D.C. begins to wind down, two imperatives need to move front and center. One is that the sunsetting process needs to be completely transparent, and undertaken with community input. All remaining funds need to be fully accounted for, and procedures must be carefully established for the monitoring of existing initiatives and the transfer and oversight of some of these initiatives to appropriate existing city and state agencies where possible.
Second, all remaining monies need to be allocated to their original catchment area, which is Lower Manhattan. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Community Board 1 Chairperson Julie Menin and state Senator Daniel Squadron, among others, have all stated publicly that any remaining funds should not end up filling a hole in another city agency’s budget. While Peter Davidson, the Empire State Development Corporation’s executive director, did allude to the possibility of certain pitfalls along the way, namely a contract being nullified or an already allocated lump of funds becoming available due to unforeseen circumstances, we believe it is vital that in that case the funds should end up being spent in no place but Lower Manhattan.
It is not called the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation for nothing.
Notaro, Gallo: A must
Then-Governor Paterson made a good decision last year when he nominated two Battery Park City residents and leaders, Anthony Notaro and Martha Gallo, to serve on the board of the Battery Park City Authority. Because the state Senate did not act on the nominations before Governor Cuomo took office, their nominations are now void.
Notaro and Gallo’s nominations came about after a long campaign to seek greater representation of local residents on the B.P.C.A. board. Local voices are particularly important because B.P.C.A. is entering a new and critical late phase of its remarkable life, in that much of what it set out to do has been completed.
In its 43-year existence, B.P.C.A. has succeeded in transforming its 92 acres of World Trade Center landfill into a vibrant neighborhood with 12,000 residents, more than 10 million square feet of commercial space, three schools, 35 acres of parks, ball fields, a library and a resplendent esplanade. But there are still crucial issues that remain to be resolved, a big one being the renegotiation of many of the neighborhood condominiums’ ground rents. And this is in the context of a possible plan by the city to take over the authority by exercising its $1 option and assuming the authority’s obligations.
Both Gallo and Notaro will give the neighborhood a stronger say in these big discussions and decisions. Both have demonstrated a strong understanding of local issues and a commitment to their neighborhood. They should be promptly renominated by Governor Cuomo and confirmed by the Senate.