Thursday, May 22

No longer illicit, construction persists on Randall's Island

So after a State Supreme Court judge voided the city's deal to give 20 private schools exclusive rights to the playing fields at Randalls Island, you'd think the city would stop work on the project, right? You'd be wrong. Work has continued unabated for the last four months, and now Curbed reports that the project has "taken a sharp left turn into Bizarro World": Yesterday, the same judge who voided the deal said the continued construction was just fine.

The bottom line may be that it won't be legal for the city to take the $45 million promised by the private schools to pay for the playing fields. So as parent advocates and neighborhood activists wanted, the private schools won't get exclusive use of the fields — but at the same time, someone else will have to foot the bill. And as we know, there's not exactly millions of dollars sitting around right now earmarked for the benefit of public school children. I'm sure there are plenty of readers who understand the situation better than I do — what should we expect to see when the first playing fields open, perhaps as early as this fall?

1 comment:

Patrick Sullivan said...

The root of the confusion is the big lie told by the administration: that the fields could not be built without private school funding. When the D4 PTA Presidents Council and other plaintiffs sued to stop the concession for the exclusive use of the fields, the judge agreed and voided the contract. She found that the city charter and other planning rules were ignored illegally.

Many people, because they believed the administration, thought that without the funding the work would stop. But the city argued in court that the money from the private schools was entirely separate from the building of the fields. And finally the truth was out -- the money was always there in the city's capital budget.

What the judge decided this week was that the claim that the project needed an environmental impact statement came too late. So the construction continues.