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January 21, 2007

Columbia, play nice

Daily News
Errol Louis

With Brooklyn's Atlantic Yards project finally moving forward, it seems like the men and women working on the city's next mega-project - Columbia University's plan to build a major research campus in the Manhattanville section of West Harlem - have learned nothing from what happened in Brooklyn. Instead of working full time to arrive at a shared vision in a spirit of mutual compromise, Columbia and many local leaders in West Harlem appear poised to square off in a tangle of lawsuits, protests and accusations.
In fact, it's not necessary for Columbia to strong-arm anybody. As developer Bruce Ratner proved with Atlantic Yards, an early round of talks with legitimate, longstanding community leaders can calm fears and serve as an important gesture of good faith toward local residents.


Errol would have done better to refer to Norman Oder's analysis of the Columbia CBA:

For one thing, the president of the new West Harlem Local Development Corporation is Patricia Jones, who is a vice-chair of Community Board 9, as well as the chair of CB 9’s 197-a Plan Committee and co-chair of the Manhattanville Rezoning Task Force. And the new LDC has 19 members representing area tenants, businesses, elected officials and CB9, as well as environmental, cultural and faith-based organizations.

Contrast with AY

That contrasts with the eight organizations, most of them fledgling, that signed the Atlantic Yards CBA. City Limits quotes Brad Lander of the Pratt Center for Community Development:
Lander faulted the agreements signed by Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion for the Bronx Terminal Market and new Yankee stadium for lacking a grassroots component. And not enough community stakeholders participated in negotiating the benefits agreement with developer Bruce Ratner over his proposed Atlantic Yards development, he said.

Posted by amy at January 21, 2007 12:25 PM