On Wednesday, August 23rd, the City Council approved a land use item that will pave the way for the construction of a new housing project E. 99th Street, adjacent to Metropolitan Hospital. The project, which will be built by the City’s Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) will provide housing to 176 low-income elderly and/or disabled New Yorkers who currently reside at HHC’s Coler Goldwater skilled nursing facility on Randall’s Island, but no longer require intensive care. After extensive negotiations with the Bloomberg administration and HHC, I arrived at the decision to support this project.
The move of the Coler Goldwater facility from Randall’s Island to El Barrio/East Harlem was in the works since at least 2010, but the final push to move this plan along came with the announcement that the City was seeking to use the land occupied by Coler Goldwater for a new engineering school on Randall’s Island (which will be operated by Cornell University). The new facility planned for E. 99th Street is one of several new developments coming into the East Harlem community as a result of the closure of Coler Goldwater. A new nursing facility will be built near North General Hospital, and a former North General building will also be renovated to provide acute long-term care (these two sites are outside of my Council district).
The E. 99th Street Sanitation Garage
The community had expressed a number of concerns about the proposed move of Coler Goldwater facilities into El Barrio/East Harlem. The most salient of the issues raised by community stakeholders like the Metropolitan Hospital Community Advisory Board (CAB) and Community Board 11 involved a longstanding concern with the location of the E. 99th Street Department of Sanitation garage.
I share the community’s frustration about the location of such a garage across the street from our public hospital, and now from a planned housing development for low-income seniors and disabled individuals, and I have raised this with the Bloomberg administration, the Department of Sanitation (DSNY) Commissioner and HHC in the past.
In negotiating the Council approval of the 99th Street housing development, I secured several commitments from the administration:
- Search for potential new location of sanitation garage: DSNY will work with the Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to try to identify another City-owned or privately-owned site on which to house the sanitation garage. DSNY has pledged to keep me updated on this process.
- Reduction in number of sanitation vehicles: DSNY will reduce the total number of vehicles stationed at E. 99th Street in its summer season (April 2nd through November 11th) by 20%. Additional vehicles will be added in the winter season, but those will only be used for the purposes of cleaning up snow in Community District 11.
- Additional parking space for trucks on 1st Avenue: The City has secured additional space to park Sanitation trucks on the corner of 1st Avenue and 99th Street, eliminating the need for trucks to park on 99th Street itself.
I believe that these commitments are an important step in the right direction to mitigating some of the negative impacts of the garage on 99th Street and opening up the possibility that the garage could eventually be moved if the right opportunity presents itself.
Resources from Cornell University
The community also requested that El Barrio/East Harlem receive consideration for resources that Cornell University is planning to provide to schools on Roosevelt Island, considering the burden our community is taking on with the influx of patients formerly located at Coler Goldwater. While we could not receive specific commitments at the present time, I am confident that there is a genuine openness on the part of the administration to help secure resources for our schools from Cornell, as the development of the engineering school moves forward.
Thank you for your continued support. If you have any additional questions, feel free to contact my office.