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At the CB1 meeting on October 22nd, during the public speaking portion, staffers for City Council member Deborah Glick, and State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, spoke to protest the planned closure of the obscure, rarely used, Stuyvesant Community center which is now redundant with the opening of the $70 Million Asphalt Green next door. They spewed misleading statements, such as there will be a critical shortage of gym space if the Stuyvesant center is closed, despite Manhattan Youth and Asphalt Green both having gyms and both being within a quarter mile from one another.
Of note, the actual elected officials did not show up in person to speak. Quite often, the elected officials do make personal appearances at the CB1 meeting.
What is really going on, the real agenda, is that Bob Townley, the operator of the now-struggling Manhattan Youth (losing members to Asphalt Green and losing grants from BPCA) is making a turf grab, trying to enter the Battery Park City territory. Once he operates a facility within BPCA he might be able to garner lucrative grants from the BPCA, which were recently cut off.
This story was reported in the October 25 eBroadsheet (BS). The BS article was biased by the fact that the BS receives large sums of money from Bob Townley’s Manhattan Youth in the form of advertisements. Manhattan Youth and the Broadsheet have teamed up on numerous events supporting Manhattan Youth.
For the full story, read our October 8th article, below.
October 8, 2013- By Steven E. Greer
At the most recent BPC CB1 meeting, it was announced that the rarely-used Stuyvesant Community Center (now rendered unnecessary with the opening of the much better Asphalt Green community center next door) will be shut down by the BPCA. The announcement seemed to come as a surprise, and the CB1 members had not prepared an orchestrated response of false outrage. (Recall, at the same CB1 meeting, the board clearly had rehearsed a strategy to express outrage over the BPCA cutting off funds for Bob Townley’s senior swim classes that cost BPC tax payers $62,000 a year, and yet has recruited only a hand full of senior citizens.)
Today, one week after the announcement, the usual cabal is in full force. Bob Townley seems to be making a play to take over the Stuyvesant Community Center.
In the local adverting flier The Broadsheet (BS) is another “Pulitzer Matt” Fenton misleading article. It portrays the Stuyvesant Community Center as a vital asset to the community that will be sorely missed once closed. Despite very few people knowing that the center even exists, and membership plummeting 80% since the opening of Asphalt Green, the BS article interviews one man affiliated with Bob Townley and the ballfields who claims that the indoor gym of the Stuyvesant center is needed for winter workouts of the softball and Little League teams.
The BS article also quotes CB1 member Mark Costello explaining how vital is the Stuyvesant center. Mr. Fenton writes, “Mark Costello, a member of Community Board 1 (CB1), who helped negotiate the agreement that paved the way for the BPCA to recruit Asphalt Green to open the new athletic facility on North End Avenue, said of the BPCA’s decision to shutter the Stuyvesant Community Center, “they haven’t replaced the old Community Center with another affordable provider. So it’s unreasonable to claim they’re closing it as duplicative, when there isn’t a similar option.”. However, Mr. Fenton makes no attempt to compare the pricing of Asphalt Green to the Stuyvesant gym and pool. Moreover, Mr. Costello actively worked against the BPCA administration of the time that was leading the way to bring in Asphalt Green and compete with Mr. Townley’s Manhattan Youth community center. Mr. Costello also helped Mr. Townley organize a rally opposing Asphalt Green in 2012, prior to Asphalt Green opening.
Mr. Fenton then quotes Bob Townley, the owner of the Tribeca community center Manhattan Youth, “Bob Townley, the executive director of Manhattan Youth (who also chairs CB1’s Youth and Education Committee), said, “Lower Manhattan is experiencing a severe shortage of gymnasiums and gym space, particularly in the evenings. The local soccer and softball leagues would jump at the chance to use these facilities. I know that Manhattan Youth needs more gym space on weeknights for its programming. But the community as a whole needs workout rooms and gym access at a fair price.”.
Mr. Townley’s comments suggest that he is angling to take over the gym space for his nearby Manhattan Youth center, and invade further into the BPC community. Mr. Townley already enjoys a virtual monopoly over the after-school programming affiliated with most of the public school Downtown.
Until recently, the BPCA had been giving $250,000 a year in free grants to Mr. Townley, for unknown reasons. When BatteryPark.TV exposed the practice, and the state JCOPE investigated, the BPCA stopped the funding. If Mr. Townley can demonstrate that his Manhattan Youth serves BPC via services such as the Stuyvesant center, then his goal of having the BPCA funding restored would be more likely.
Two notes: A) Robert Simko, publisher of the BS, and author Matt Fenton, both receive considerable financial compensation from Mr. Townley’s Manhattan Youth in the form of advertising and other payments, and B) Mr. Fenton was not present at the October 2nd CB1 meeting when the BPCA announced the closure of the Stuyvesant center.