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BatteryPark.TV first exclusively reported that the political winds were shifting in favor of dissolving the Battery Park City Authority (BPCA) as it exists now, and possibly having the city assume control of the 92-acres of land. Shortly thereafter, the BPC subcommittee of the CB1 discussed the matter on December 3rd, with the board members for the first time aggressively challenging the need for the BPCA.
The CB1 only makes such bold moves when politicians behind the scenes direct the members to do so. Which politicians were controlling the CB1’s strings? Sitting front and center in the CB1 meeting on December 3rd was Sheldon Silver’s senior staffer Paul Goldstein. No staffers from Mayor de Blasio’s or State Senator Squadron’s teams were in attendance.
Many things have changed suddenly in New York City and New York State since the September elections. The new mayor could be the driving force behind this new movement to dissolve the BPCA, as we previously outlined. However, less well known are the state-level changes that would also pressure the BPCA to change.
The amendment to the Hudson River Park Trust (Bill A8031) was finally signed by Governor Cuomo and gives new land to the BPCA that was formerly owned by the HRPT. The details of this merger, which parks staff will be reassigned, etc., are yet to be worked out.
Related to the new HRPT A8031 law, a February 2013 SAGE Report also recommended a consolidation of many of the neighboring parks. On page 45 of the SAGE report, it states, “NYC Urban Planning and Development Authorities The State has four separate entities that perform similar functions related to urban planning and economic development in New York City. These include the Battery Park City Authority (BPCA), Hudson River Park Trust (HRPT), Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC), and the Javits Center. Two of these are mature operating entities (BPCA, RIOC), while the other two are likely to have future development needs (HRPT, Javits Center). The State’s role and objectives for each should be further examined. This review should include analyzing how best to leverage each entity’s bonding capacity and development resources as well as combining similar functions to streamline operations and reduce costs.”.
Sources tell us that Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver sees all of the pending changes in New York City waterfront real estate, only partially listed above, as opportunities to realign his power base. By getting out in front of the changes coming to the BPCA, his office will not be left behind.
BatteryPark.TV still believes that Mayor de Blasio and City Council are also looking at the option of assuming control over the BPCA and the revenue it generates. In addition, there are 21 newly-elected members of City Council starting in January. The shark feeding frenzy is underway.
The joint session of the CB1 meets tonight, and the resolution of the board to dissolve the BPCA will be formally discussed with a vote. Interested members of the community should attend, starting at 7:00 PM. Despite CB1 Chair Katherine McVay Hughe’s inevitable warning that the audience is not allowed to speak during “executive session”, you are indeed to allowed to speak and ask questions.