Hudson River Park NID — A Good Thing?

Public Meeting Tomorrow on Future of Hudson River Park

The second of three public meetings on the proposal to create a Neighborhood Improvement District (NID) along the west side will be held tonight, November 27, at the Fulton Center Auditorium, 119 Ninth Avenue.

The first meeting on the issue was held on November 15 at The Village Community School, and many spoke out in support or opposition to the plan, and many valid questions were raised.

The Friends of Hudson River Park, the financing and fundraising arm of Hudson River Park Trust, has put forth this proposal as a way to ensure the continued maintenance of the park, which receives no public funding.

What is an NID?

According to their website, hudsonriverpark.org, the NID-generated funds would go towards:

• Capital maintenance and operations support for the Park
• Improved access to Hudson River Park, including the possible additions of pedestrian bridges, crossing guards, and safer crosswalks
• Clean and well-landscaped highway medians and adjacent areas
• Resources for other neighborhood public spaces within the District
• Advocacy for improved public safety, transit access, and overall quality of life

It would also give support to local merchants and community groups.

What it Would Mean For Property Owners
The proposed NID would levy a small annual tax on property owners along the west side near the park:

• 500-square feet: $37.50
• One bedroom, 1000- square feet: $75.00
• Two bedroom, 2000 square feet: $150.00

Although it’s been stated that the taxable properties would go in some cases as far as Hudson Street, the map shows many areas that go further east.

There is no question that the park has added considerably to property values nearby, and we treasure it’s landscaped beauty, water views, bike paths and activities—so on the surface the proposal seems to make sense. Many of us remember the time when the waterfront was a place to avoid — broken down and not very safe. Maintaining this beautiful park is important to the neighborhood and the city.

Concerns Raised at First Meeting
The first meeting on the issue was held on November 15 at The Village Community School, and many spoke out in support or opposition to the plan, and many valid questions were raised.

Property Values: One person who spoke objected to the poor timing of the meeting, as many in the proposed district are still recovering from Superstorm Sandy. This raises an important question: if the proposed tax is based in part on the increased property values in the neighborhood, will that still hold true? Many are concerned about the inevitable future storms, the potential damage, and increased insurance premiums.

A Big Surprise: Word asked why Pier 40 hadn’t been mentioned, and was told that the NID plan does not include structural maintanence of the pier.

Just a Tiny Little Tax? Another major issue was raised when a gentleman pointed out that HRPT was a quasi- governmental organization, and although the proposed tax on property owners was quite modest, if the proposal went through, the organization would have the right to increase those taxes in the future. (The taxes would be collected by the city on behalf of HRPT.)

There was also support for the NID from others who had been involved in such projects in other areas of the city, stating the advantages for residents and businesses.

Continuing the Discussion
The meeting tomorrow night will be at the Fulton Center Auditorium,119 Ninth Avenue., and a third meeting will take place at Borough of Manhattan Community College, 199 Chambers Street, Richard Harris Terrace.

Community Board 2 will also hold meetings before the issue goes before the City Council, and Word will update you on when those meetings will be held.

 

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