A neighborly feud has been brewing over the planned Harlem Children’s Zone charter school at New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA)’s St. Nicholas Houses in Central Harlem. Under the auspices of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the sale to New York City’s Department of Education (DOE)’s model charter school program will evade the City’s ULURP (Unified Land Use Review Process) procedures as it would be a federal transaction.
Once the sale will have been finalized, a new K-12 charter school will be built in the open spaces now on public housing land. In addition, the current cul-de-sac on 129th street –smack in the middle of St. Nicholas Houses– will soon go through the ULURP process to create a through-street between Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Blvd and Fredrick Douglass Blvd, bringing it back on the grid. While even these basic facts have been hotly debated by residents and neighbors alike, the new development has created quite a stir at Community Board 10 meetings for the past few months.
The audio story offers insights by some of the key voices for and against the new school and street set to open in September 2012.
* Tyrone Ball, 45, Vice-president of the St Nicholas Houses Tenant Association and for the school, but against the through-street.
* Jacob Morris, 61, against the school as proposed and cynical of NYCHA’s intentions.
* Willie Mae Lewis, 68, President of the St Nicholas Houses Tenant Association and for the school and through-street.
* William Danzy, 59 St. Nicholas Houses resident against the school and the through-street, founder of the Citizens for the Preservation of St. Nicholas Houses.