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Runaround on Randall's?
February 13th, 2008

A couple of weeks ago, some East Harlem residents and public school parents were applauding a decision by a state Supreme Court judge that voided a deal to give private school kids preferred access to purportedly public playing fields on Randall’s Island – at the expense of public school students. Judge Shirley Kornreich’s ruling essentially meant that the Bloomberg administration “must essentially start from scratch” and put the deal through the Uniform Land Use Review Process. That would require review by the community board and the borough president and then OK’s from the City Planning Commission and the City Council, the Times explained earlier this month.

Calling the decision “a great victory for public school children,” Eugenia Simmons-Taylor, former president of the District 4 the lead plaintiff, said, “Now the community and our elected representatives will have a chance to have their say.”

Not so fast.

Juan Gonzalez, who did much of the reporting to reveal the deal, writes in today’s News that the Bloomberg administration is continuing construction on the playing fields – despite the judge’s decision. “The court ruling addressed the use of the fields once they are built, not the construction of the fields themselves,” said Lawrence Kahn, the Law Department’s chief litigation assistant.

Norman Siegel, the attorney who represented the East Harlem parents, disagrees. The city is not following at least the spirit of the judge’s decision,” he said.

Both sides are due back in court next week.

By on February 13, 2008, 6:46 pm
In category: Gotham City,Law,Parks | 4 Comments »

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4 Responses to “Runaround on Randall's?”

  1. AllWaysNY | Blog » AWNY Linkomat Says:
    February 13th, 2008 at 10:41 pm

    […] Runaround on Randall’s? (Gotham Gazette) […]

  2. Patrick Sullivan Says:
    February 14th, 2008 at 7:03 am

    Randalls Island Sports Foundation Chairman Richard Davis had always maintained that the work could not be done without the financial support of the private schools. Now the contract with the schools is voided yet the work continues? This fact simply proves what many suspected and City Council staff has admitted, that the funding to improve these fields was always in the city’s capital budget. So there must be some other motivation for handing over the best access to 20 private schools.

    For a guy who also heads what is purportedly the city’s most venerable “good government” group, the Citizens Union, Mr. Davis seems to have much disdain for the city charter and the land use review process specified there. Why can’t he follow the rules the way he expects everyone else to?

  3. Sheila Says:
    February 14th, 2008 at 11:57 am

    This is yet another of MANY boondoggles perpetrated on the public by the corrupt leadership of the Randall’s Island Sports Foundation. The waterpark privatization scheme was shot down too. Yet for these projects they spent millions of our taxpayer dollars to meet, plan, propose, design, lobby, etc, all for a big waste!!! The entire leadership of RISF needs to be fired immediately. A Community Driven Planning Process needs to be created to develop a real Master Plan. The bridges need to be made safe and opened to the Island for local access. You can’t even get there from Harlem without a car. This is one of the most shameful entities in the entire city of New York, whose staff are double dipping, from the public trough as Parks Employees at salaries above 100,000$ and then as private foundation employees. They are the grossest, most arrogant people around. The racist school deal was annulled in COURT, yet they have cut THOUSANDS of trees there!!!

  4. Robert Says:
    February 14th, 2008 at 1:32 pm

    Dear Neighbor:

    Thank you for joining us at the Town Hall meeting on Randall’s Island. The gathering was quite productive and energetic (notes forthcoming courtesy of Harry Bubbins – right, Harry?). As discussed, we are moving forward with planning for a march/rally to/on Randall’s Island for Sunday, February 24th. Enclosed and below is a revised flyer for the February 24th march/rally to Randall’s Island. Please note that I have only included confirmed agencies in the list (the march is open to any group that wishes to participate). Again, suggestions are welcome. Please send comments at your earliest convenience so we may proceed to distribute.

    Marina Ortiz
    (646) 271-6854

    A WALK IN THE PARK COMMUNITY MARCH/RALLY TO & AT RANDALL’S ISLAND
    Sunday, February 24th – 1:00 PM
    Meet at the Entrance to the Triborough Bridge Southeast Corner of 2nd Avenue @ 125th Street

    VOICE YOUR CONCERNS AND DEMAND THAT THE CITY & PARKS DEPARTMENT:

    • Provide Increased Access to Ball Fields for Local Schools and Organizations
    • Abolish the Private School Franchise Contract & Develop a More Open and Fair Permitting Process
    • Go thru Land Review (ULURP) Process & Prepare Environmental Impact Statement
    • Improve Safety and Public Transportation & Stop the Implementation of Artificial Turf
    • End Private Parties That Prohibit Access to Public Park Land

    PARTICIPANTS: Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito • East Harlem Preservation • Class Size Matters • NYC Park Advocates • New York Environmental Law & Justice Project • Friends of Brook Park •East Harlem Little League • Harlem R.B.I. • Community Association of East Harlem Triangle Inc. Call (212) 828-9800 to Register Your School, Church or Community Organization.

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