Friday, June 15

Randall's Island playing fields update

There's been some discussion on our forum about the city's plan to lease most of the playing fields on Randall's Island to private schools instead of making them available to East Harlem public schools. The deal seems unfair both because it deprives public schools of access to public parks for the next 20 years and because the city made the deal without seeking input from residents of the affected communities. Now, the Times reports that a group of East Harlem residents are suing the city over the deal -- they're seeking to have the deal canceled because they weren't consulted before it was made. They're being represented by Norman Siegel, the former head of the New York Civil Liberties Union who also led the unsuccessful cell phone ban lawsuit. No matter what happens with this lawsuit, we hope it reminds the city that New Yorkers notice when they are excluded from discussions about their neighborhoods, their children, and their rights.

1 comment:

Patrick Sullivan said...

The city charter requires contracts for large-scale private use of public land (concessions) to go through a formal land use review process. The community board, borough president and city council are entitled to hold hearings and vote on the concession. The mayor has attempted to force this particular deal, which will cover 171 acres, through a loophole to avoid the proper review. The District 4 PTA Presidents Council and the Citywide Council on High Schools are the elected public school parent leaders who have joined East Harlem activist Marina Ortiz in bringing the suit.