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Uptown Forum Will Discuss Fate of Inwood Library Redevelopment

By Carolina Pichardo | March 17, 2017 12:52pm
 The coalition group Northern Manhattan Is Not 4 Sale is holding a community forum on Saturday, March 18, at 620 Isham St.
The coalition group Northern Manhattan Is Not 4 Sale is holding a community forum on Saturday, March 18, at 620 Isham St.
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DNAinfo/Carolina Pichardo

INWOOD — Local activists and nonprofit organizations are hosting a forum Saturday afternoon to discuss the status of the Inwood Library redevelopment project.

The proposed redevelopment —which would demolish the Inwood Library site at 4790 Broadway to make way for a new tower with 100 percent affordable housing and a “state-of-the-art” library — sparked concerns in the community since being announced in early January.

The forum, which is being organized by the coalition Northern Manhattan is Not 4 Sale, will allow residents to come together and discuss their concerns, ideas and updates on the project, which is a partnership between the New York Public Library, the city's Housing Preservation Development and the Robin Hood Foundation.

"We'll be talking about our position on the library development, but also soliciting feedback through small groups and surveys," a spokesman for the coalition told DNAinfo New York, adding that organizers invited Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez to also say a few words. 

So far, the city has held three public workshops at the library site — along with posting an online survey — to discuss the project and gather input from the community.

Among the questions the city has asked the public are what library services they would like to see with the new development, how high the new building should be, and what affordability rates should be applied to the apartments.

Residents have urged HPD and NYPL officials to rethink the deal, concerned that the city has not been transparent about who would own the city-owned library land once it partners with developers.

They’re also concerned the project will create a wedge in the community, pitting affordable housing advocates against those concerned with the height and scale of the building.

HPD said in January that it would return to the community in March with updates on the project, including a detailed report of all discussions and comments from the workshops.

But as of Thursday morning, HPD said it was still working with Community Board 12 “to identify dates where we can come back to present feedback.”

“We are currently projecting that will take place in April,” an HPD spokeswoman said. “Once the date is set, we will be advertising in the neighborhood so community members can attend the presentations.”

CB12 did not immediately reply to a request for comment. 

HPD said the survey, which was launched in conjunction with the community workshops, will still be accepting comments until the end of this month, “in case there is any additional feedback folks want to submit.”

The forum will take place Saturday, March 18, at the Good Shepherd School, 620 Isham St., from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.