Will you help to buy a park for Jackson Heights?

Will you help to buy a park for Jackson Heights?

Thanks to everyone who came out last night for the Emergency Community Meeting about the Garden School athletic field. Despite the snow, 150+ people showed up to hear more about the situation and brainstorm ideas for a solution. 

Following is a summary of the situation:

– Council Member Daniel Dromm has secured $5 million in capital funds for the City Parks Department to purchase the Garden School athletic field and turn it into an extension of Travers Park.

– While the Garden School would prefer to sell the lot to the city, their Board of Directors has voted to sell to a developer to address their immediate cash flow needs of $500,000 in the next few months. The money from the developer would be available more quickly than the money from the City because the City must go through ULURP (Uniform Land Use Review Procedure). This is the process that allows for public review and environmental study of any purchase of land by the City. ULURP typically takes 12-18 months to complete. The money can not be released until ULURP is completed.

 We want the Garden School to accept the city’s offer, so the attendees at the meeting have proposed that the community lend the money to the Garden School to address their immediate cash flow needs.  This would basically be an interest-free loan to be repaid in the next 12-18 months, upon completion of the city’s land use review process. Once the Garden School receives the money from the city, the money will immediately be repaid.

We at the Jackson Heights Green Alliance are reaching out to the community to ask if you would pledge money to this cause.  For amounts of $500 and above, this would be a LOAN to be repaid by the Garden School within two years when the purchase by the City is completed.  Amounts under $500 would be a donation and would be reserved for Parks-related improvements.

We are in the process of working with an attorney to draft a contract that will establish the terms of the loans from Jackson Heights residents to the Garden School.

If you are willing to help save one of the last remaining open spaces in the neighborhood for the expansion of Travers Park, please email me at dudley@jhgreen.org with your name, email, phone, and the amount you’d be willing to pledge. Once we have worked out the details of where the money will be held we will then request you to honor your pledge.

Let’s do everything we can to preserve the open space we so desperately need!

Get Involved,
Dudley Stewart
Jackson Heights Green Alliance
dudley@jhgreen.org

 

 

Emergency Community Meeting about the Garden School field – Wednesday, January 26th 8pm

The Jackson Heights Beautification Group and Jackson Heights Green Alliance are facilitating an emergency community meeting about the Expansion of Travers Park / Garden School field.Please come out to get an update and plan future actions on this very important community issue.Please join us:

Wednesday, January 26th 8pm

Community Methodist Church
81-10 35th Avenue

 

A timeline of events so far

The Garden School, a prestigious private school that has been serving Jackson Heights since 1923, has a playing field attached to the school which they are looking to sell in order to raise funds. For a number of years, the school has been with an increasingly large deficit between operating costs and income.

In the beginning of 2010 Councilmember Danny Dromm was approached by the Garden School to consider the city’s interest in purchasing the playing field.

In May and June, 2010 Councilmember Dromm orchestrated a series of meeting between the Parks Department and the Garden School to consider the viability of this option.

On July 1st, 2010 Councilmember Dromm secured $4M from the city’s capital budget in conjunction with $1M from Borough President Helen Marshall to enable the Department of Parks to buy the land as an extension to Travers Park.

The Garden School and the city were in general agreement to move forward with the city purchasing the land. In late September Councilmember Dromm was informed by the school that they would need the money much sooner than expected. An unexpected drop in enrollment this academic year has made the situation more critical. Since the city must follow the 6-18 month long ULURP process the Garden School’s cash flow needs made a deal with the city more problematic. As a result, the school put the playing field on the market, listing it for $5.25M

Councilmember Danny Dromm, in partnership with the Jackson Heights Beautification Group and Jackson Heights Green Alliance worked on securing the Garden School bridge financing to help cover the school’s expenses until the city completed the ULURP process.

The Garden School informed Councilmember Dromm last week that the school’s board of directors had voted to not pursue the city’s offer. The city was not offered the opportunity to counter-bid.

Events this weekend: Pizza Party on Saturday, Alianza Ecuatoriana on Sunday

Dear Play Street Supporters:

Thank you for all your help and support with the 78th Street Play Street this year. As you know, summer is coming to an end and so will the daily play street. On August 31, 2010, the barricades on 78th Street will come down and cars will drive down 78th Street again. Remember, the Play Street will remain open on Sundays until Halloween, October 31, 2010 along with the Farmer’s Market.

To mark the 78th Street Play Street’s great summer success, we will have a Pizza Party on the Play Street on Saturday, August 28 from 2 to 5 PM. We hope you will be able to join us so we can thank you in person and you can see for yourself what fun we have had on the 78th Street Play Street all summer long.

Without your support, we would not have been able to make the 78th Street Play Street available all summer long to the kids of Jackson Heights.

On Sunday Alianza Ecuatoriana will be hosting a party on the Play Street celebrating Ecuadorian culture. There will be music and games for children. It will be held from 12 to 6PM and everyone is welcome to come and enjoy the day with them.

Thank you for your support and we hope to see you this weekend.

Upcoming events

Saturday August 14th – YOGA at 7:30am

FREE free open-level vinyasa classes for adults on the street.

Sunday August 15th

Learn to ride a bike from 11 am to 2 pm and Recycle a Bicyle bike exchange from 12pm to 3pm.

Thursday, August 19th at 8:30pm

Free movie night

SLEEP DEALER, a Sundance Festival Award winning independent Mexican / American film by Alex Rivera, in Spanish and English