Back to News Headlines
Good News on Acquisition!
Proving that grassroots citizen action works, on May 17,
2003 the New York City administration once again reversed position, and restored
$1.2 million in Fiscal Year 2003 funding for acquisition of parcels in the
Udalls Cove Ravine that were being threatened with immediate development. The
planned acquisition had been announced in January 2003 [see �Additional Parcels
to be Acquired for the Park�], but the funding was withdrawn on April 2 [see
�Urgent Community Alert�]. The restored funding will be used to acquire two
large and important parcels in the southern portion of the Ravine.
The change in the decision came after an intense campaign
to save the Ravine. Despite sometimes heavy rain, over 100 people, including
State Senator Frank Padavan and City Councilman Tony Avella, attended UCPC�s
annual meeting on April 12. There they had the opportunity to express their
support of protecting the Ravine to NYC Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe (who
also participated in the annual post-meeting wetlands cleanup). Nearly 200
people signed a petition asking our government officials to do whatever is
necessary to save the Ravine. Many people wrote letters to the Mayor and other
officials. Local newspapers carried stories and published some of the letters.
UCPC spoke to and met with staff at City Hall, the Parks Department, the New
York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers (in charge of federal wetlands permits). We wrote to the owners of
the parcels that were to be developed, and reminded them that federal and state
wetlands permits had to be secured before any clearing or construction activity
could take place. Senator Padavan, long a strong supporter of acquisition, was
instrumental in persuading the Mayor to restore the funding.
The City has now made offers to purchase the two parcels,
the first step in the acquisition process (which may include condemnation, if
And more good news: on June 27, Councilman Avella
was successful in his efforts to include a line item in the City�s Fiscal Year
2004 budget (effective July 1, 2003) for an additional $350,000 to acquire two
more key parcels in the Ravine!
Where do we stand? As of July, 2003 the City owns
about 40% of the property in the Ravine. After acquisition of the four
additional parcels using the FY-2003 and FY-2004 funding described above, the
City will own 65% of the Ravine. This is great news, and we thank the
government officials who worked hard to make it happen; but we won�t rest until
the entire Ravine is protected forever.