The following opinion piece was written by Brett Leitner, founder of SHARE, a neighborhood organization advocating for the redevelopment of the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area:
Now is the Time for Progress on SPURA!
The saga of SPURA has come to a climax with Community Board 3 voting this Monday night on guidelines for a mixed-use development that would replace dilapidated parking lots with multi-income housing, retail properties, green spaces, cultural/educational institutions, and more. The future of SPURA impacts everyone on the Lower East Side. As a Grand Street resident and founder of SHARE (Sustainable Housing And Retail Expansion), I believe the guidelines will prove most beneficial to our neighborhood and therefore warrants the community’s support.
A lot of people have big expectations heading into tonight’s fourth and final mediated discussion on the future of the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area (SPURA). At the last session, in August, facilitator John Shapiro acknowledged members of Community Board 3’s SPURA task force are still far apart on the contentious issue of affordable/market rate housing. He urged participants to use the summer recess to decide whether they have the stomach for compromise.
Brett Leitner, a Grand Street resident who recently became involved in the SPURA debate, hopes the answer is “yes.” As the driving force behind a new organization called SHARE, he believes it’s finally time for the community to set aside old feuds and make a deal. Last week, I sat down with Leitner to discuss the infamous redevelopment site in the shadow of the Williamsburg Bridge and what his group is trying to accomplish.