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City Is Mum on Final Inwood Library Plan as Deadline to Tell Public Passes

 Residents said if the city moves forward with the request-for-proposal for the Inwood Library redevelopment project without addressing the community as promised
Residents said if the city moves forward with the request-for-proposal for the Inwood Library redevelopment project without addressing the community as promised "it would be highly disrespectful of our community and of our community board."
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DNAinfo/Carolina Pichardo

INWOOD — More than a month has elapsed since the city was supposed to release a final draft of its plan for the Inwood Library rezoning site, but officials won't say when they plan to share it with the public.

The city's Housing Preservation and Development was supposed to address the community with a final draft of the report during the May 23 general board meeting, canceled their appearance stating the “Final Community Visioning Report will be distributed in June” instead. 

The report had not been released as of Friday afternoon.

HPD did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

But officials said previously that they still plan to put out a request for proposals to developers in summer 2017 and that their RFP will “have a final version of the Community Visioning Report” as the appendix.

But residents say they've still never seen it — and that it would be a slap in the face if the city moves forward without addressing the community.

Karla Fisk, member of the Save the Inwood Library group, said if HPD intends to go straight to releasing an RFP, “it would be highly disrespectful of our community and of our community board.”

“It would make clear that they don’t care about the community of Inwood, they just want to force their proposal on our community. It would confirm that their workshops and survey were completely untrustworthy and the survey is illegitimate.”

Neighbors said the latest version of the proposed project — a collaboration between the New York Public Library, HPD and anti-poverty nonprofit The Robin Hood Foundation to tear down the 4790 Broadway library site and replace it with 100 percent affordable housing and a “state-of-the-art” library — was "deeply flawed."

The city is not accurately portraying “the community’s viewpoint on the prospect of redeveloping the library into affordable housing," the community group Save the Inwood library wrote in a June 27 letter to Community Board 12, HPD, Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez and Manhattan Borough Gale Brewer.

The group cited an HPD draft presentation to the community in May, in which officials claimed that the community had told them an 8-story apartment building under the current zoning would be the “most appropriate,” but were willing "to accommodate a slightly taller building, if it meant getting more affordable apartments.”

However, HPD acknowledged that there had been errors in how the height options were presented in the workshops and online survey and that many of those surveyed were never offered the chance to choose an 8-story building in their survey.

“There is also strong community desire should any redevelopment take place, to match the height and scale of any such redevelopment to be contextual with the existing zoning with a maximized library component,” the group wrote in their letter, adding that the workshops and survey were “clearly set up to reinforce a plan the city had already developed.”