Community organizations will be going before the parks committee of Community Board 3 tonight, continuing to press their case for changes to an agreement with Basketball City. The private company, preparing to open a new facility on Pier 36 (Montgomery Street), signed a long-term lease with the city several years ago. Last month, the neighborhood groups appeared before the CB3 panel, outlining a “Community Benefits Agreement” they have independently negotiated with Basketball City owner Bruce Radler. The committee tabled the issue, saying they wanted to hear from Radler, who was not in attendance, before taking a position.
According to a press release, more than 30 members of the Waterfront Coalition will be on hand for this evening’s meeting. In addition to presenting the latest version of the Basketball City agreement, they will brief community board members on a report they released several months ago, the “People’s Plan for the East River Waterfront.”
But the conflict over the future of Pier 36 is likely to dominate to conversation. Last month, CB3 members made it clear they felt the coalition was overreaching. Three years ago, CB3 and Radler negotiated concessions, including discounted court fees, on behalf of local residents. But when those concessions were not written into the city’s lease agreement with Radler, the coalition took matters into its own hands. Among their revisions: the establishment of a community advisory board to enforce the terms of the agreement.
CB3 member Anne Johnson told The Lo-Down, “since when is an ad-hoc community group able to set itself up as an
‘advisory’ body to a company, not for profit, or any other organization. It is the purview of that company, organization, etc. to set up it’s own advisory body if it wants one.”
In the coalition’s press release, spokesperson Helena Wong says, “in this time of economic crisis, when residents need services and good jobs as well as places where they can relax more than ever, community spaces and local small
businesses must be prioritized for the waterfront. We hope that the Community Board will support our work, as there are many similarities between the CB3 plan for the waterfront from 2005 and the People’s Plan.”
The meeting will be held at the BRC Senior Services Center, 30 Delancey Street. It begins at 630pm.