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From Chinatown to the East Village, a Busy Day (and Week) Covering the Neighborhood

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The Lo-Down was kept busy yesterday afternoon and evening – and the week's just beginning. At the American Legion post on Canal Street we listened as the Chinatown Working Group, after months of deliberations, finally approved a set of guiding principles for future development of the neighborhood (see yesterday's preview). They also decided to seek approval through the city for a "197-a," community plan, a comprehensive proposal encompassing the rezoning of Chinatown, but including many other areas such as cultural issues, transportation and economic development.

A short distance away, at the Cooper Union, a Community Board 3 committee passed a resolution supporting the Chinatown Working Group's efforts.

But some members, including land use/zoning/housing panel chair David McWater expressed reservations about the chosen strategy, a much more ambitious approach than CB3 opted for in successfully rezoning the LES last year. Meanwhile, the committee resumed talks about the redevelopment of the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area. City officials were on hand, but mostly listened, rather than giving a full-fledged presentation some members seemed to want.

Back in Chinatown last night, residents held a town hall meeting to discuss fears about the upcoming 9/11 trials in Lower Manhattan. In-between these meetings, we stopped by to catch up with City Councilmember-elect Margaret Chin. Yesterday alone, she held meetings with the mayor (a "get to know you'" session), the Economic Development Corporation and the Department of Education. Among the issues she raised: the importance of getting something done on the SPURA parcels.

Still to come this week, CB3's transportation committee gets to hear details of the city's new "Lower Manhattan bus management plan (tomorrow 630pm)." The District 1 Community Education Council takes up the controversial issue of kindergarten admissions (also tomorrow night). CB3's parks committee will be asked to approve a community access agreement for Basketball City. And Girls Prep Charter School, and several traditional public schools potentially impacted by its expansion plans, jockey for the upper-hand. Look for more details on all of these stories later today. And check out our calendar for more details about this week's meetings.

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