Volume 73, Number 46 | March 17 -23, 2004

Cooper Union funds park meetings

By Elizabeth O’Brien

Cooper Union has received a grant from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, some of which will be directed towards “re-imagining Peter Cooper Park as a well-designed, functional, open space,” Ronni Denes, the university’s vice president for external affairs, said in a letter to the chairpersons of Community Boards 2 and 3.

The university will use $25,000 of the grant to set up meetings where members of the public can discuss the park’s future with elected and university officials and Center for Architecture staff, according to Claire McCarthy, a university spokesperson.

Cooper Union’s announcement set off alarm bells with Marty Tessler, a member of Board 2. He said he feared the university would rehash prior talk of narrowing the street on northbound Fourth Ave. and transferring the surplus land to the park.

Tessler said he has no objections to widening the triangle park, between E. Sixth and Seventh Sts., as long as it doesn’t cause traffic problems.

“There’s really no desire to crank up and even do these conceptualization ideas,” Tessler said of Cooper Union’s planned brainstorming sessions.

McCarthy stressed that the meetings would generate only guiding principles for a discussion on the park, not a final design. The city Department of Transportation would have to approve any changes to traffic patterns.

Harvey Epstein, Board 3’s chairperson, said he had not yet seen Denes’ letter and thus could not comment. But he added, “We’re always open to having community meetings.”


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