On April 19, 2007, Manhattan’s Community Board 2 rescinded its approval of Bloomberg’s plan to bulldoze and rebuild Washington Square Park. Happy Anniversary!
All, right, technically the Board gave the City until May 9, 2007, to adequately respond to questions that had been raised; otherwise, the approval would be rescinded. Which is what happened when the Parks Department ignored the Community Board’s directive.
While Community Board votes are largely considered “advisory,” officials like to cite Community Board decisions to validate their projects when those decisions go in their favor. In the case of Washington Square Park, Parks Commissioner Benepe falsely cites in his letters that he had the approval of the local Community Board, and ignores the inconvenient fact that the Board had rescinded their previous approval.
Here are the Minutes from the April 19th, 2007 Community Board meeting at which the Board took back its approval.
COMMUNITY BOARD 2 Manhattan MINUTES
DATE: April 19, 2007
13 3. Washington Square Park
… WHEREAS, the Appellate Divisions opinion affirmed Community Board 2’s legal right to be fully informed and provided with accurate plans for review, irrespective of the Parks Department adherence to the Board’s recommendation
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that Community Board 2 will rescind its prior approval of the plans for renovation of Washington Square Park effective May 9, 2007 unless before such date the Parks Department presents for review and examination its current plans for renovation to the full Community Board 2, the Community Board 2 Park and Waterfront Committee or to the Washington Square Park Task Force; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Community Board 2 calls on our elected officials, most especially City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Councilman Alan Gerson, State Senator Tom Duane, Assembly Member Deborah Glick and Borough President Scott Stringer, to use their respective offices to urge the Parks Department to appear before the Community Board and/or the Washington Square Park Task Force and present its detailed plans for Washington Square Park before any contracts are put out to bid and work of any nature is performed in connection with the renovation of Washington Square Park.
Vote: Passed, with 42 Board members in favor and 5 in opposition.