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Downtown Nonprofits Get $17M in Grants

By Julie Shapiro | September 7, 2011 10:36am | Updated on September 7, 2011 1:11pm
Peter Stanford, the museum's founder, addressed the crowd Sunday.
Peter Stanford, the museum's founder, addressed the crowd Sunday.
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Save Our Seaport

LOWER MANHATTAN — Dozens of Downtown nonprofits will receive $17 million in post-9/11 recovery grants, the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. announced Wednesday morning.

The largest individual grant, $2 million, will help boost the struggling Seaport Museum New York, which was forced to lay off most of its staff last February because of financial problems.

The Seaport Museum grant will jointly go to the Museum of the City of New York, which is taking over the attraction, and will support the preservation of the museum's collection and future planning to ensure the institution's long-term stability, the LMDC said.

Other major grants include $1.48 million for new equipment for lower Manhattan's public schools; $1 million to renovate restrooms at Allen and Delancey streets; $1 million for Pace University to expand its dance rehearsal space; and $1 million for Grand Street Settlement to replace the main elevator at 80 Pitt St.

"The breadth and range of institutions reflects the breadth of the revitalized lower Manhattan," said Avi Schick, chairman of the LMDC.

In all, the LMDC awarded 38 grants after receiving 266 applications seeking a total of $191 million, more than 10 times the amount that was available. Eligibility was limited to nonprofits or government agencies with projects below Houston Street.

One organization that applied for a grant but did not receive funding was Park51, the mosque and community center two blocks north of the World Trade Center site.

Park51's request for funding sparked controversy among those who did not want to see an Islamic center so close to the site of the 9/11 attacks. It appears that Park51 did not meet the eligibility requirements because the organization has not yet received its nonprofit certification.

The grants that the LMDC awarded will help many established lower Manhattan institutions continue their programming, including $700,000 to fund the next three years of the River to River Festival, $250,000 for the Tribeca Film Festival's free screening festival in Battery Park City and $250,000 for two years of public art exhibits in City Hall Park.

The grants will also allow some nonprofits that previously received LMDC money to complete projects that they have already begun. The funding will support the Battery Dance Company's renovation of its studio, the Flea Theater's construction of a new complex on Thomas Street, ABC No Rio's new arts center on Rivington Street and the Children's Museum of the Arts' new teen arts center in SoHo.

"We're thrilled," said Jonathan Hollander, founder of the Battery Dance Company, which received a $125,000 grant. "It will be a big help."

The money will pay for air conditioning, security equipment and other upgrades to the dance company's 380 Broadway rehearsal studio, Hollander added.

The LMDC's money will also support improvements at Washington Market Park in TriBeCa and Gulick Park on the Lower East Side.

Other grant recipients include New Amsterdam Market, the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, Manhattan Youth's after-school programs and Asian Americans for Equality's affordable housing programs.