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Most communities in Manhattan have official Block Associations acting as oversight committees to keep the CB1 and local officials honest. Astonishingly, Battery Park City does not have one. BatteryPark.TV proposes that a “Friends of Battery Park City” be created, and be staffed by volunteers from the community who are unaffiliated with the establishment organizations, such as the CB1.
The Battery Park City Authority is constantly changing administrations. With each new board chairman comes a whole new wave of firing and hiring. Key staff with the institutional competence to manage the parks and projects are let go. The community the suffers and crumbles, literally (i.e. sinkholes, broken public toilets, cracking pavement, etc).
The Friends of BPC would, ideally, be run by people with real families who are impacted by playgrounds without running water, or by foul smelling dog runs. BPC also has a valuable source of wisdom in the retiree community who have the time to participate. There would be strict term limits, unlike the CB1.
Recently, several unofficial “block association” groups have formed in BPC to address specific complaints, such as helicopter and ferry boat noise, or oppose the Pier A liquor license. They have been ineffective, to date, because of the lack of leadership and small numbers. Few people have bothered to even attend BPCA and CB1 meetings.
If as few as a dozen people who live in BPC would be willing to form this Friends of BPC, and attend one or two meetings each month, speaking with a united voice, then great change could be affected. Currently, each time a new citizen makes the effort to attend a 6:00 PM CB1 meeting, or a 10:00 AM BPCA meeting, the respective boards take notice.
Some of the most pressing issues of the community now, that a Friends of BPC would address, are:
- The blight to the community caused by the stalled Brookfield Place construction project. The scaffolding and detours are a significant blow to the quality of life.
- The disrepair of the parks: two years after Hurricane Sandy, incompetence and corruption has allowed parks and playgrounds to remain out of order.
- Crime in the parks caused by incompetent Park Enforcement Patrols. The Friends of BPC would attend the monthly NPYD First precinct meetings to make sure that the real police are aware of our concerns.
- The failure of the BPCA to address the expiring ground leases, which is driving down home value.
Unlike other communities, BPC possess tremendous wealth. The taxpayers of BPC generated $241 Million in revenue this year, with a surplus of $142 Million. That money is currently being greatly mismanaged, with only $28 Million budgeted for repairs of the BPC infrastructure, and a small portion of that actually being spent.
The problems of the community that Friends of BPC would address have been caused by the elected officials, for the most part. They answer to the big buck of the real estate moguls, not the little guy. The CB1 is just a puppet organization that carries water for the electeds. Friends of BPC would be an oversight group keeping an eye on those elected officials, using the powerful tools of The First Amendment (i.e. free speech, journalism, and public assembly).
If you have an interesting in becoming a founding member of the Friends of BPC, and are not currently affiliated with the CB1, please contact us. BatteryPark.TV will assist in forming this Block Association, but cannot lead this effort. We hope to simply raise awareness and get a movement started.