Possible Solution to Chinatown Planning Dilemma

Photo via Chinatown Working Group web site.

Several days ago we reported on the latest controversy surrounding the Chinatown Working Group (CWG), a collection of 50 community organizations developing a blueprint for the neighborhood. Several members were displeased that the NYC Economic Development Corp. would be controlling the selection of a planning consultant, who will be hired to assist the CWG.

Now it appears there’s a potential solution.  As we’ve explained in past stories, the consultant will be paid for through a grant from the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. (LMDC). Since the Chinatown Working Group is not an “officially recognized financial entity,” the Economic Development Corp. stepped in to act as a “pass through” organization.  But the EDC would have had a 4-3 majority on the panel screening applicants. In the past month, at least eight CWG members have protested this arrangement, saying they feared the community was allowing the city to take over the planning process.

Now another organization, the Fund for the City of New York, has come forward. They are willing to act as a “fiscal conduit” and give the CWG control of the selection committee. The Chinatown Working Group will vote on the new proposal at its September 20th meeting. The plan would also need to be approved by the LMDC.