FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 25, 2005
MAYOR BLOOMBERG AND GOVERNOR PATAKI ANNOUNCE COMPREHENSIVE PLAN TO INFUSE OVER $800 MILLION INTO LOWER MANHATTAN
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Governor George E. Pataki today announced a comprehensive allocation plan for the remaining Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) funds that will yield dramatic and long-lasting results for all of Lower Manhattan. Elements of the plan include funding for the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation, new community and cultural amenities, neighborhood rejuvenation projects including the revitalization of both waterfronts, and investments in Chinatown. The allocation plan reflects the priorities of Mayor Bloomberg’s 2002 bold Vision for Lower Manhattan creating a downtown for the 21st century.
“In December 2002, I presented our Administration’s vision for revitalizing Lower Manhattan and that blueprint has guided the redevelopment of the area over the last two and a half years,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Today’s allocation of over $800 million in Federal funds moves us further toward realizing every element of that vision as well as reclaiming Lower Manhattan as a hub of international finance and commerce. We are making investments in three key areas: improving transportation, creating new open spaces, and nurturing new neighborhoods here in New York’s historic birthplace. Working together with Governor Pataki, we’ve taken long strides toward those goals and today’s agreement shows the renewal of Lower Manhattan is moving ahead.”
“We’ve made smart investments to ensure that Lower Manhattan is rebuilt as a thriving business district and strong residential community,” said Governor Pataki. “This plan will help ensure Lower Manhattan’s long-term health and vitality by supporting planning, projects, and activities throughout downtown. These funds will go a long way toward improving the daily life of downtown residents, workers, and visitors. Our efforts will mean better streets and transportation, new parks and open spaces, more affordable housing, and an overall improved Lower Manhattan. Most importantly, this plan supports the construction of the memorial which will offer a profound experience to millions of family members and visitors. I want to thank Mayor Bloomberg for his shared vision for a renewed Lower Manhattan and his partnership in creating this funding plan. I look forward to working closely with the City, the LMDC, and the downtown community on its implementation.”
“We began our process by listening to the public and contemplating how best to remember those we lost on September 11, 2001, and February 26, 1993,” said LMDC Chairman John C. Whitehead. “The steps we have taken to this point, along with those we embark upon today, honor that shared loss in a substantial and inspirational way. With every project we fund, we are creating a living memorial, reflecting our determination to rebuild Lower Manhattan into a 21st century central business district and a thriving, 24-hour, 7-day community. This plan will fuel the resurgence of Lower Manhattan in every sense, making positive changes that will endure for generations.”
“Today the Governor and Mayor provide us with a plan that reflects the public priorities that have arisen over three years of community input and discussion,” said LMDC President Stefan Pryor. “This cogent and potent plan will fulfill our collective goals for a world-class business district and vibrant residential neighborhood. Lower Manhattan is thriving and, thanks to the leadership of Governor Pataki, Mayor Bloomberg, and Chairman Whitehead, its future is even more promising.”
Transformation of Open Spaces
Parks and Playgrounds: Building on the over $30 million investment that created and revitalized more than 120 acres of parks and open spaces, the plan calls for an additional investment of $20 million into parks and playgrounds throughout Lower Manhattan in such locations as the Lower East Side, the Financial District, Chinatown, and Tribeca.
Hudson River Park and East River Waterfront Transformation: A $70 million grant will rejuvenate the Tribeca section of Hudson River Park, ensuring its success as the vibrant community resource it has the potential to be. The improvements include an estuarium containing a Hudson River education center, playgrounds, volleyball courts, a new skate park, and a restaurant. The East River Waterfront project will receive $150 million in funding, creating a mix of public spaces, cultural, and recreational uses. Together this funding will transform Lower Manhattan’s underutilized waterfronts, creating beautiful and lively public spaces.
Improve Accessibility and Transportation Infrastructure
Local Transportation and Ferry Service: A $9 million investment in a series of local transportation improvements including a street management system that will enable better operation of Lower Manhattan’s overtaxed narrow streets and sidewalks as well as the possibility of a ferry service or services from the northern suburbs to downtown.
New York Stock Exchange/Financial Core Improvements: A $15 million grant to implement the second phase of improvements to the streetscape and security surrounding the New York Stock Exchange. Enhancements include expansion of the cobblestone treatment to pedestrianized areas, street furniture and lighting, and the development of innovative and attractive gateway devices for key intersections.
Chinatown Circulation and Investment in Chinatown Partnership Local Development Corporation: A $25 million grant will fund components of the Chinatown/Brooklyn Bridge Anchorage Study. This includes relocating the Police Plaza security checkpoint, connecting Bowery directly with St. James Place, widening St. James Place, reconfiguring Frankfort Street for two-way traffic, and improving pedestrian flows while also working with security needs. In addition, a $7 million investment will be made in the newly formed Chinatown Partnership Local Development Corporation, which includes a substantial contribution to create a comprehensive multi-year sanitation program for the neighborhood. The Chinatown Partnership is a community-based, economic development organization, whose mission is to improve business conditions, strengthen the connections between commerce and culture, and form new partnerships to increase public and private investment in Chinatown.
New Neighborhoods and Community Revitalization
Fulton and Greenwich Streets: The reintroduction of Fulton and Greenwich Streets through the rebuilt Trade Center site offers the opportunity to turn these two streets into arteries and catalysts. As a river-to-river roadway and home to two new transit centers, Fulton has the potential to serve as a retail and recreational corridor. In the section of the street east of the Trade Center site, $38 million in improvements will create a new park, revitalize the street’s retail through incentives and grants, and spur new residential development. The area of Greenwich Street below the Trade Center site offers the chance to create a great new neighborhood. Up to $40 million will serve as a substantial down-payment on the creation of a bus facility that takes idling commuter buses off the streets, the building of new public spaces, new residential housing opportunities, and the creation of pedestrian connections from Battery Park City to the financial district. The Governor and Mayor also announced that they will be seeking a $40 million commitment from remaining Federal Transit Administration (FTA) funds for downtown, bringing the potential total to $80 million for this project. The Governor and Mayor have asked that the LMDC and the City to work with such stakeholders as the Battery Park City Authority and the MTA to realize this plan.
Off-Site Cultural: In addition to the investment in cultural facilities on the World Trade Center site, $45 million will be made available to cultural institutions south of Houston Street. The grants will be available to strengthen existing and create new cultural facilities. These proposals will be evaluated by the LMDC, in consultation with the State and the City.
East Side Elementary School: A $20 million commitment for a nearly 100,000 square foot K-8 public school on Beekman Street long advocated by the downtown community.
Community Enhancement: $45 million in additional funding will be set aside to expand our investments in a network of projects that will make Lower Manhattan more livable for residents, more workable for businesses, and more attractive for visitors. This portion of LMDC’s community enhancement funding will be driven by projects that promise to spur the revitalization of Lower Manhattan, particularly projects with a focus on the vital components of a diverse, mixed-use community such as residential, commercial, retail, and civic amenities, and other economic development and environmental initiatives related to post-September 11th recovery.
Removing Last Remaining Blight
Fiterman Hall: A $15 million commitment to the rebuilding of Fiterman Hall, the Borough of Manhattan Community College building partially destroyed when World Trade Center 7 collapsed on September 11, 2001. The LMDC commitment, coupled with the $40 million in State and City funding will ensure the Hall’s first-rate rebuilding.
Creation of the Memorial, Centerpiece of Our Efforts
World Trade Center Memorial: A $300 million contribution will be made over time to the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation for the creation of the memorial and cultural complex.
Property Acquisition of World Trade Center Southern sites: A $20 million investment to assist in the acquisition of the sites to the south of the World Trade Center site will ensure full implementation of the Memorial program.
Creation, Preservation, and Revitalization of Affordable Housing
In addition to the allocation plan, the Governor and Mayor also announced that a new affordable housing proposal for previously allocated funding has been developed and will be detailed in upcoming weeks. The proposal leverages $50 million in LMDC funds to create over 200 new affordable units, and preserve and rehabilitate nearly 3,000 affordable units throughout Lower Manhattan. The proposal outlines projects that have been identified for the construction of new and affordable housing units, including Site 5B in Tribeca and potential conversions in the Fulton Street corridor. It also outlines a preservation and rehabilitation component for existing affordable housing units through the Chinatown/Lower East Side Acquisition Loan Program, and capital improvements for Masaryk Towers and Knickerbocker Village, existing assisted housing developments on the Lower East Side.
Funds Focused on Community Projects
In response to public comment, the allocation plan does not include contributions of LMDC funds to either the Long Island/JFK rail link or public infrastructure on the World Trade Center site. The LMDC remains committed to ensuring these programmatic priorities are achieved, but will not be allocating limited CDBG funding towards that end. Governor Pataki recently called on the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to commit $1 billion to the rail link, brining the prospective total to $4 billion of the $6 billion budget.
LMDC activities and programs are funded through a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) from United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Each project is subject to approval of the LMDC Board of Directors prior to issuance of partial action plans (PAPs) that will allow the public additional involvement in the process. For more information on the LMDC, past and future initiatives, off-site study information and images, and the allocation framework, please visit www.RenewNYC.com.
Edward Skyler/Jennifer Falk (212) 788-2958
Lynn Rasic (Governor) (212) 681-4640
Joanna Rose (LMDC)