Residents Demand Land Use Review of Randall's Island

Thursday, May 28, 2009

A group of residents from East Harlem and the Bronx won a case over playing fields on Randall's Island more than a year ago. But they went back to court yesterday because the city hasn't complied with the judge's order. WNYC's Matthew Schuerman explains.

REPORTER: In a new lawsuit, the residents say they want the Bloomberg administration to undertake a full-scale land use review of the reconstruction of Randall's Island, which started two years ago. That would give the community board and city council an official role in shaping the park, which residents say favors playing fields over picnic areas. A state civil judge sided with residents last year, and voided a controversial deal that would give private schools exclusive access to some of those new fields in return for cash. But instead of re-planning the park, the Bloomberg administration has continued with construction and expects to finish all the playing fields next year. The city law department says it will review the lawsuit. But it defends the decision to continue the project, saying the deal with the private schools has been changed to address the court ruling. For WNYC, I'm Matthew Schuerman.

HOST: Under the latest deal, private schools would get first dibs on just half of the playing fields during peak hours, down from 66 percent in the original version. Public schools and community groups would get the rest of the field-times. The new agreement still has to be approved.


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