City Councilmember Alan Gerson came to Community Board 3's monthly meeting last night to offer updates on several issues and to thank the community for "all we have accomplished together." He will be succeeded on the City Council in January by Margaret Chin, who defeated him in September's Primary and went on to win the General Election.
Gerson underscored his opposition to the decision to try the 9/11 suspects in Downtown Manhattan. But he told CB3 the Police Department has promised to hold a community briefing sometime next month to discuss security concerns with the residents. The date for the meeting is not yet set.
He also discussed the work of a special committee he created earlier this year to deal with increasing concerns about youth violence. Gerson said he recently met with the mayor's coordinator for criminal justice services about "drug related gun violence" on Madison Street. A commitment was apparently made to "expedite the installation of security cameras" in the area, and to get back to his office with a "plan of action" to deal with the situation." But Gerson urged CB3 to send a letter to the city calling on officials to more effectively coordinate crime prevention and youth services. There's a widespread feeling in the community that, while many agencies and organizations have developed programs to engage young people, there's very little coordination among them. It remains to be seen what will become of the committee Gerson formed after the first of the year when Chin takes office.
Finally, Gerson said negotiations are progressing to preserve affordable housing at the Grand Street Guild apartments. Talks with the Department of Housing & Urban Development will resume after the holiday.
Gerson ended on a "personal note," telling CB3 members he was "thankful for the opportunity to work" with them over the years. Signaling a desire to stay involved downtown, he said "I look forward to continuing to work with you in the weeks, months and years ahead."