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City Wants Input For New UES Playground to Replace Site of Planned Tower

By Shaye Weaver | October 3, 2016 2:36pm
 NYCHA plans to replace a playground at Holmes Towers with more housing.
NYCHA plans to replace a playground at Holmes Towers with more housing.
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DNAinfo/Shaye Weaver

YORKVILLE — The city is asking residents to weigh in on the design of a new playground at Holmes Towers that will replace the one its demolishing to build a mixed-income high rise in the complex.

Holmes Towers residents have opposed the city's plan to build a partly market-rate apartment building at the site of an existing playground on East 92nd Street and East End Avenue — a move that's part of a broader project, called NextGen, which is meant to create revenue to fund capital repairs in public housing across the city.

Officials have said they will replace the playground that will torn down for the new tower with a better version somewhere else on the property, and now they're looking for input from Holmes Towers residents for its design.

The New York City Housing Authority and the city's Parks Department will hold several workshops with locals sometime in the spring, after they choose a developer for the project, but they haven't announced exact dates yet.

On Saturday, residents of Holmes Towers said that they were more concerned about needed-repairs and mold issues in the complex than a new playground.

"NYCHA families will still be living with toxic mold and leaky roofs while developers are getting rich from gentrifying our communities," said Saundrea Coleman, an Holmes Resident and member of activist group Community Voices Heard, in a statement Saturday. "This plan is deplorable. If the Mayor is serious about preserving and repairing NYCHA, fully fund it from the city budget."

The new tower will include 300 units, half of which would be affordable and the other half market-rate.

Residents have been against the plan from the beginning, arguing that the city shouldn’t be able to build market-rate apartments on public land and that they're also concerned about increased density on the lot.

NYCHA has promised to use a percentage of the income from the new building to make much-needed repairs on the property, but residents said the repairs should've been made regardless.

► READ: UES Pols Blast Plan to Build High-Rise on Top of Public Playground

► READ: City Seeks Developer For New Mixed-Income Tower on Top of UES Playground

Sept. 30 was the deadline for developers to submit their proposals for the mixed-income high rise.