Thursday, January 28, 2010

Columbia Vs the Community

Columbia University is planning a huge second campus in the West Harlem, spanning from below 125th street to 134th street. The university is buying up acres of property and lobbying city and state government agencies and elected officials in search of zoning changes which would dramatically increase the value of the current property Columbia owns there now and whatever land it is actively seeking to acquire. Columbia wants to evict businesses and residents who live in the area between 125th and 134th Streets from Broadway to the river and beyond. On a third of the property, it intends to construct biotech labs (including BioSafety Level 3) in which scientists could experiment with dangerous and potentially deadly agents such as Avian Flu, SARS, and the Plague. These agents are transmitted by air, are highly contagious, and cause serious health problems. These labs should not be in a residential neighborhood.

Community Board 9 has worked with the Pratt Center for Community Development on the design of its community-initiated 197-a development plan, and continues to work with Pratt Center as New York City governmental agencies evaluate the 197-a plan against Columbia's 197-c proposal for an expanded campus and biotech center. On the Pratt Center's website, you can read an introduction to the community's 197-a plan, or for a more comprehensive look, you can read the full text of the community's 197-a plan. There is information about the expansion on Columbia University's website, where you can read about most aspects of its expansion proposal that have been made to the public from Columbia's perspective. (Note: Columbia continues to conceal many aspects of the plan, and contends that many details of its proposal have not yet been determined.)

June 10, 2006 — Upper Manhattan Rally for Low-Income Housing and Against Columbia

The Coalition to Preserve Community joined with Project Remain / Nos Quedamos on June 10, 2006 to co-sponsor a rally to preserve and expand low-income housing in Upper Manhattan, and to protest the Columbia expansion plan and the actions of other developers seeking to displace our uptown communities. Thousands of residents from Harlem, Manhattanville, Washington Heights, and Inwood, marched from 135th street and Broadway---at the plaza of 3333 Broadway, where thousands are at imminent risk of displacement---more than 65 blocks north to Dyckman Street.

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