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Since I am unable to attend the June 20 City Council hearing on the Midtown East Rezoning plan, I am submitting this testimony in writing so my opinion becomes a part of the written record.
In short, I applaud you for your efforts to ensure that the current rezoning plan does not adversely affect Greenacre Park by significantly reducing the amount of sunlight reaching the park.
Developed in 1971 for public use, Greenacre Park is maintained with private funds through the generosity of Greenacre Foundation. It attracts 200,000 visitors annually, including residents, families, tourists, and members of the local workforce.
The proposed rezoning threatens to eliminate virtually all afternoon sun from the Park which diminish visitors’ enjoyment and threaten its beautiful vegetation.
The park is the only green space of its kind in the rezoning study area. Only two percent of the acreage in Council District 4 is dedicated to parkland versus a citywide average of 19 percent.
Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer testified to the City Planning Department that the loss of sunlight would have a “significant” adverse impact. She called on the City to “continue working with Greenacre Park to explore all options to avoid shadow impacts from new buildings.” The Municipal Art Society has said that the City “cannot afford to allow development under the East Midtown proposal to cast such an important resource as Greenacre Park in additional shadow.” I agree with these positions.
A modified rezoning plan would improve midtown Manhattan while also preserving Greenacre Park’s scarce sunlight. We urge you to support a modified rezoning plan that would maintain the character and appeal of this popular and essential open space.