Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Montefiori Park CCNY proposed Plaza

Montefiori Park CCNY proposed Plaza

By J. Reyes-Montblanc

My Notes on the Meeting of the Montefiori Park Neighborhood Association Quarterly Meeting 19 August 2008 8:00 PM at Dorothy Day Housing.
(Revised 21Aug08)

Last night at 8:00 PM over 30 locals and 30 Precinct Commander Dep. Insp. Scott Shanley and staff with Manhattan North Chief Raymond Diaz were hosted by Mrs. Alida Palma the President & Founder of the Montefiori Park Neighborhood Association that for the last 14 years has cared for the park and the whole of Hamilton Square Broadway Malls from West 135th Street to West 138th Street. I attended representing the HDFC Council and also addressed some question about CB9M.

In attendance were also representatives from City College Architectural Center and Tom Lunke from HCEDC who is guiding and coordinating the current and future players in a Project to convert the Park into a Plaza based on grant from the NYC Dept. of Transportation for creating open spaces in communities that lack enough open areas. Community District 9 Manhattan that covers from West 110th St. to West 155th Street from the Hudson River to a rough line from Edgecombe/Bradhurst/St. Nicholas/Morningside/Manhattan Avenues includes the most parkland than any other Community District in Manhattan except for CD12M that extends north from West 155th Street.

The project concept presented has been presented at CB9M Executive Committee last month and although interest in improvement to the Park are certainly welcome the conceptual closing of Hamilton Place and elimination of nearly 40 parking spaces has been strongly objected at Both CB9 and at last night's meeting although similarly the expression for the need to improve the Park particularly the lights and night security were strongly expressed

Tom Lunke explained that this is only a concept and that community planning as promoted by CB9M will be followed giving the community plenty of opportunity to comment and participate in the design however as there was a deadline of August 18th CCNY in partnership with Heritage Health & Housing, a well known and highly respected community based not-for-profit will certainly go a long way to reduce the community's mistrust of CCNY as an institution that has not been very community friendly and only in the last year of so has made so efforts to open dialogue with CB9M and the community.

In general those present were enthusiastic about something being done although the concept presented was found to be flawed and unacceptable in its present configuration but with the understanding that CB9M and the local community will have a say in the project's design, the project may yet fly if DofT selects the proposal. However NYC Parks that owns and manages Montefiori Park has not been contacted by the principals of the project something they promise to take care sooner rather than later, particularly contact will be made with Manhattan Parks Commissioner Bill Castro.

The 30th Precinct provided the crimes statistics for the District that show an over all drop of 11%. Concerns were expressed by residents of various quality of life persistent problems, uncollected dog poop by the dog-owners seems to be increasing; deliverymen on bicycles running on the sidewalk endangering pedestrians; un-leased dogs particularly pit bulls continue to be a problem; noise after 11:00PM continues to be problem as it is the congregation of youths in front of buildings until the wee hours, making noise, eating and dropping the scraps and plates for the buildings to clean up or get fined by Sanitation.

Local residents of West 135th and Riverside Dr complained about the cars transiting on Riverside at high speed and turning at West 135th at high speed the 30th Precinct agreed to observe the location.

Mention was made of the parked cars vandalism on Riverside Dr Dept Inspector Shanley advises that there has been a reduction on this sort of vandalism that seems to peak out every so often, no arrest have been possible yet but the 30th is keeping an eye on the area.

Strong concerns by residents of West 136th Street near Amsterdam about the noise emanating from Jacob Schiff Park night games that sometimes extend past midnight and the use of loudspeakers at maximum volume assaults residents in their home. Commander Shanley will speak to Parks about the permits issued for night games as most permits run out by 9 PM.

Another similar strong concern was expressed by residents along Broadway on Hamilton Square (West 136th Street to West 138th Street) is the taking over of the Montefiori Park by preachers with extreme loudspeaker arrays the sound physically invading the apartments up to two blocks away, depriving the residents of the quiet enjoyment of their residences as the NYC Laws guarantee. Apparently Sundays afternoon seems to be particularly objectionable however the same thing happens sporadically during week days.

The residents asked to 30th Precinct to pay particular attention to these quality of life offenses.

Several people were referred to CB9M Uniform Services & Transportation Committee that meets the first Thursday of every month except July and August, at 6:30 PM at the CB9M offices at 18 Old Broadway.

Great concerns were expressed about working women walking home being followed by unknown men without any reason - warnings were given to be very much aware of the surrounding areas before opening the doors to a building and if threatened to take evasive action looking for neighbors, friends for immediate assistance and to call 911.

--Posted By Gray Wolf-6 to Gray Wolf's Howl at 8/19/2008 12:39:00 PM

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