Op/Ed: SPURA Plan Reflects True and Unprecedented Community Process

The Seward Park development parcels are depicted on the cover of the city’s request for proposals.

Editor’s note: Last week, we published an op/ed from Jenifer Rajkumar, a district leader and prospective City Council candidate, concerning the Seward Park development project. Today, here’s a related opinion piece from Dominic Berg, who was the chairperson of Community Board 3 from July 2008 – June 2012. He continues to serve as a member of CB3 and is a member of the Seward Park RFP Task Force. This Op/Ed is not an official statement of Community Board 3:

As the former Chairperson of Community Board 3 who oversaw a community consensus on this project, I would like to provide recent historical context about the progress taken thus far on the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area (SPURA).

The deal that allowed this development to move forward after over 40 years of inaction was a result of true common sense community consensus on what is best for the Lower East Side. I often said that we knew we had a deal because everyone gave up something and all felt a little out of their comfort zone. Every vote taken by the full Community Board on this project was unanimous.

Gigi Li Elected Chair of Community Board 3; High Praise For Outgoing Chair Dominic Berg

Gigi Li and Dominic Berg at last night’s Community Board 3 meeting.

A leadership transition for Community Board 3 last night.  Gigi Li was elected to serve as chair, after Dominic Berg chose not to run for a fifth one year term. Li, a Chinatown resident, is co-director of the Neighborhood Family Services Coalition.  Previously Li was CB3’s 2nd vice chair. She is the first Chinese American to serve as chairperson of any New York community board.

During the meeting, Berg was praised for his dedication to the community.  Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver presented him with a state proclamation. Outgoing state Senator Tom Duane spoke in glowing terms about Berg, who has played a major role in advocating for gay rights and marriage equality.  Erik Bottcher, Governor Cuomo’s community liaison, was also on hand to express gratitude to Berg for his service.