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Tenants Association Opposes Plan for Public Plaza on W. 97th Street

By Emily Frost | November 11, 2014 7:16pm
 The Park West Village Tenants Association opposes the plan to build a public plaza along West 97th Street. 
Stryker Park
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UPPER WEST SIDE — A group that's lining up supporters to make a wide stretch of sidewalk into a public plaza is facing opposition from a neighboring tenants association that says the area is already too congested.

The Park West Village Tenants Association's executive board — made up of 21 members who each represent hundreds of residents in the 2,500-unit affordable housing complex — told DNAinfo it opposes the plan for the increased pedestrian traffic it could bring to the area. An entrance to Park West Village sits along West 97th Street, the site of the proposed plaza.

The plaza's proponents, the Friends of Stryker Park, want to bring greenery, more tables and chairs, and a community garden, among other features, to the wide block between Amsterdam and Columbus avenues. The plan has already earned the support of the Department of Transportation, City Councilman Mark Levine and other nearby resident groups.

However, the Park West Village Tenants Association believes the plaza will mean more people, more litter and general chaos, especially if the 20-story Jewish Home Lifecare nursing home project planned for the same block is approved by the city. 

The construction and operation of the new nursing home will mean ambulances and trucks coming and going, and "there’s enough action going on" already without adding a popular public plaza, said Maggi Peyton, the association's president.

The new Columbus Square shopping mall, which houses big-box stores like T.J.Maxx and Sephora, has made the area much busier, she explained.

"The street is congested as it is," she said, adding that she will propose to the tenants association starting a petition against the plan to compete with a petition created by Friends of Stryker Park in favor of the plaza.

The block's broad size, called a "sea of concrete" by the Friends, makes it easy for kids to play there as it is, Peyton added.

"I see young kids throwing a football around out there. I see kids on skateboards out there. It’s used for recreation," she said, adding that the idea seemed to work better in European cities, which are designed differently.

The Friends of Stryker Park did not immediately return a request for comment. 

The association plans to share its opposition at future public meetings on the idea held by Community Board 7. The board is still formulating its upcoming agendas, said Board Chair Elizabeth Caputo.