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City Council Committee OKs "Toxic" School Plan

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  • Leonie Haimson
    Top Stories http://www.ny1.com/ny1/content/index.jsp?stid=1 &aid=65748 City Council Committee OKs
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 9, 2007

      Top Stories



      City Council Committee OKs "Toxic" School Plan

      January 09, 2007

      i>The City Council gave the go-ahead Tuesday to plans to build some schools on a toxic site in the Bronx . But as NY1’s Education reporter Michael Meenan explains, the approval did not come easily.

      The City Council unanimously approved the Department of Education's application to build new schools on a contaminated waste site in the Bronx , after a long night of negotiations to avoid a major showdown with a community concerned that Mayor Michael Bloomberg was shoving through an unsafe construction plan.

      "This school was an example of a failure to have appropriate communication between the administration and the council," said Assembly Speaker Christine Quinn.

      Allowing outside environmental consultants to recommend how to clean up of toxic soil sealed the deal to clean up and then construct four new schools with over 2,400 seats, at a cost of $230 million.

      The area's councilwoman said one issue always had top priority.

      "At the end of the day we can face our community and say that we have done everything possible to ensure the children and staff that will occupy that campus are going to be safe,” said Bronx City Councilwoman Maria del Carmen Arroyo.

      The speaker said the deal sets a precedent.

      "A commitment of the Bloomberg administration to work with the council on a new and more specific process for siting [sic] schools within the city of New York .”

      Last December, the mayor agreed to allow New York Lawyers for the Public Interest to bring in outside consultants to review the cleanup plan. Then, it appeared the city reneged on that deal when it resubmitted the construction application only ten days later.

      Now the consultants will be part of the process.

      "Recommendations are due in two weeks, and within two weeks of that the city is supposed to sit with elected officials, our clients, and residents of Community Board 4," explained Dave Palmer of NY Lawyers for the Public Interest.

      The administration has committed $30 million to the cleanup and the city says it will pay whatever it takes for safety.

      "I would send my child to this particular school or one of the schools there,” added Deputy Mayor Dennis Walcott. “We're confident that we're going to build a school on safe land. We'll be sharing that information in an ongoing way with the community."

      It looks like everyone is ready to move forward, but it remains to be seen whether community involvement will have real input when it comes to cleaning up the site before breaking ground on these news schools.

      - Michael Meenan



      Leonie Haimson

      Class Size Matters

      124 Waverly Pl.

      New York, NY 10011





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