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Plan to sell Greenwich Village Children's Aid Society Building Worries Community

By DNAinfo Staff on December 2, 2010 5:17pm

The Children's Aid Society announced Thursday that it's considering selling its Greenwich Village location at 209-219 Sullivan Street.
The Children's Aid Society announced Thursday that it's considering selling its Greenwich Village location at 209-219 Sullivan Street.
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DNAinfo/Gabriela Resto-Montero

By Gabriela Resto-Montero

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

GREENWICH VILLAGE — More than 100 years after setting up shop on Sullivan Street to serve newly-arrived immigrants, the Children's Aid Society says their work in Greenwich Village is done.

The society announced this week that it was considering selling the Philip Coltoff Center at 219 Sullivan Street in order to shift its focus to neighborhoods with fewer resources than the Village.

"It is our hope that the community will recognize the difficult nature of this decision and understand that we must focus our finite resources – both human and financial – on those underserved communities of New York City where parents have the fewest quality options for their children," said Richard Buery, the society's CEO and president, in a statement on Thursday.

Buery added that the median income of families in Greenwich Village was more than twice that of families in the Morissania section of the Bronx, where the society had been increasing its services for the past 10 years.

The society's board of trustees will make a final decision on whether to sell the property on Dec. 16.

In the meantime, parents of children enrolled in the center's preschool programs said they were devastated by the proposal and worried that they'd already missed next year's enrollment deadlines.

"We love our school," said Rory Byrne, whose four- and two-year-old children attend the center.

"It's been wonderful to us and we'll do anything to get it back," Byrne said.

The announcement also put the rush on efforts to include the society's buildings in the South Village Historic District, which was approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission in June, without including Sullivan Street.

In a letter to the LPC, Andrew Berman, executive director for the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, said that, without protection, the buildings would likely be torn down and turned into dorms.

"We are urging the city to keep its long overdue promise and move ahead with consideration of this area for landmark designation right away," Berman said.

Representatives from the Children's Society said on Thursday that they had not entered into any sales negotiations with NYU or any other school.