LOWER EAST SIDE — The developer flipping Rivington House, a nursing home for HIV/AIDS patients, for a luxury condo conversion added insult to injury by letting snow and ice cake the property's sidewalks days after a snowstorm, according to a local official.
Councilwoman Margaret Chin's office on Sunday received complaints from residents of a nearby Eldridge Street building about the sidewalks surrounding Rivington House, which had not been shoveled following Saturday's snowfall. The sidewalks were still covered in snow and ice as of Monday afternoon, creating potentially unsafe conditions the councilwoman described as an "insult" to a community already reeling from the loss of the nursing home.
“In our city, it is the responsibility of the property owner to create a safe and accessible path on our sidewalks for pedestrians. Slate Property Group’s failure to do so after this most recent snowstorm is just another insult to a community still reeling from the loss of a much needed healthcare facility," said Chin in a statement.
"I urge the Sanitation Dept. to hold this property owner accountable.”
The sidewalks, stretches of which were coated with ice as well as snow, should have been cleared before Sunday morning, noted Chin's chief of staff Paul Leonard, and conditions could prove especially dangerous for neighbors using walkers or canes.
After notifying the Department of Sanitation regarding the violation to ensure owner Slate Property Group is ticketed, the councilwoman's office was told by the agency that personnel are currently investigating complaints of icy sidewalks. The Sanitation Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment from DNAinfo New York.
"Right now we're trying to somehow get the sidewalk clear but it is the property owner's responsibility to keep that clear," said Leonard.
The city in 2015 agreed to lift a couple of deed restrictions that had for decades kept the building a nonprofit healthcare facility. Months later, then-owner Allure Group sold the building to the Slate Property Group, which is now planning a luxury condo conversion.
Community members who continue to fight for the facility's return had to navigate the slippery sidewalks Sunday night as they met in a nearby building to discuss the ongoing fight for the nursing home, said one member of activist group Neighbors to Save Rivington House.
"We all noted that our options were either to walk in the street or risk slipping and falling, and we thought it was ironic that this building, that had once had their sidewalks plowed in a New York minute when it was Rivington House, is now completely impassable for anyone," said Kay Webster.
While two other areas in the Lower East Side had been flagged by community members as unplowed — the Allen Street mall and the northeast corner of Delancey and Eldridge streets — both have since been cleared up, said Leonard.
The Slate Property Group did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The sidewalks had been shoveled as of Monday evening.
As of Monday afternoon, there were no open snow-related complaints near Rivington House listed on the city's database of 311 calls.