Author Topic: Garden School Play Yard  (Read 49456 times)

Offline Matt

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Re: Garden School Play Yard
« Reply #15 on: November 28, 2010, 03:22:31 PM »
This sounds really promising.

I would think it would be most beneficial to the school to have this space be a park if they have to sell it. Having the school surrounded on two sides by a park would be a great selling point for parents considering sending their children to the Garden School. Also, the name Garden School would remain fitting.

I agree with Foxy, it would be good to have the new space be welcoming for adults that do not have children. I've never hung out in Travers Park as it seems more of a place for children and teenagers.

Offline taggie

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Re: Garden School Play Yard
« Reply #16 on: November 29, 2010, 08:13:47 AM »
 I know there is a category called plausible fiction but am not so sure about plausible reality. Maybe a scenario like this could happen.
Garden School could sell it's yard to a buyer with the stipulation that the school have x number of floors. The building is constructed
with sensitivity and green components. The city then gets the present school area and buys/relocates the businesses of Blockbuster
and Mandees and Toyota and Rainbowland nursery. The Travers park area extends two whole blocks on Northern Blvd. and the Nursery is turned in to a senior center/security facility. Much more green stuff is planted. New community center is commissioned by architects who know the area. Serious input is given by community members and it's all taken into consideration. Play Street becomes a permanent promenade. This park becomes the gem of Jackson Heights.
 And Garden School gets the school facility is has dreamed of for years and continues to be a wonderful partner in education in
Jackson Heights. Plausible reality?

Offline ECG

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Re: Garden School Play Yard
« Reply #17 on: November 29, 2010, 11:14:31 AM »
Taggie,

That is implausible reality, I think.

Offline toddg

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Re: Garden School Play Yard
« Reply #18 on: November 29, 2010, 01:32:26 PM »
Taggie,

If you can make that happen, we'll name it after you (the school or the park -- your choice)!

Offline lmaniace

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Re: Garden School Play Yard
« Reply #19 on: November 30, 2010, 05:18:15 PM »
Hello all,

There's one major obstacle to the Garden School athletic field becoming an extension of Travers Park: The Garden School needs to pay off two loans totalling $1 million during the next year. This info is not secret.

The need to pay off these loans is making it difficult for the school to wait until city funds become available, hence the push by a few to try to sell the land. But that is not the whole story, various parties are exploring other alternatives, including obtaining a bridge loan to carry the school over until city funding becomes available.

You can see the loan details by checking city records at

http://a836-acris.nyc.gov/Scripts/DocSearch.dll/DocID

1. Begin using ACRIS

2. Search Property Records

3. Document ID/City Register File Number

4. Enter these numbers into the Document ID field. You need to go through the process twice to view each loan, each time plugging in a different document number. They are:

2009092501024001 and 2009021100085001

Offline taggie

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Re: Garden School Play Yard
« Reply #20 on: November 30, 2010, 06:01:10 PM »
Who needs the bridge loan here? It sounds to me like the city needs it, not the school. Is that the right way to read this?
Are there other buyers ahead of the city? If not, the school deals with it's finances another way, right? Doesn't the city
have a way to expedite funds if there are competitive bids on real estate? This doesn't seem all that unusual in the
little I know of real estate transactions.

Offline AJ

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Re: Garden School Play Yard
« Reply #21 on: December 01, 2010, 06:54:27 AM »

Offline ECG

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Re: Garden School Play Yard
« Reply #22 on: December 01, 2010, 08:13:35 AM »
AJ - that has been previously posted, but thanks.

Instead of all the speculation, why don't we all just wait for some announcement from
Garden School itself?

Nothing said here is going to sway the outcome.

Offline sixj

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Re: Garden School Play Yard
« Reply #23 on: December 02, 2010, 12:52:49 PM »
Just to try and clear a few things up.

As the Daily News article states and Len's post confirms,

"But the Garden School is in financial straits, said Marshall's spokesman Dan Andrews, and is looking to unload the land as soon as possible."

Taggie, this is why the SCHOOL needs the bridge loan. If they don;t get money from a developer soon, they will go out of business. As you can see, the loans they took out are ridiculous and financially risky in an economy such as this.

They need the money NOW if not sooner, and, in answer to other questions, the city has no process for getting them the money before the fiscal year begins in a few months. And there is the expected red tape of a city purchase as well.

The beauty of a capitalist democracy is that the city has relatively little power (or zero) to make a private owner do anything as long as their actions don't violate local laws or zoning. The only thing we can do is the usual stuff -- put pressure on the Garden School, tell your elected officials that this is important, and if you have kids at the GS, vote with your feet -- tell them if they sell to a developer your kid will be going somewhere else.

And by the way we can wait til hell freezes over for an annoucement from the school. That will come once they've sold the land to a developer.

Offline lmaniace

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Re: Garden School Play Yard
« Reply #24 on: December 02, 2010, 01:07:34 PM »
Thank you, SixJ. As you note, the situation is urgent. The city does not have a lot of leverage. The property is zoned for a six-story building with one floor of commercial, so the land would be ready to go, depending on a developer's finances.

What the city and others can do is to help the school secure a bridge loan until city money becomes available for the purchase. Government money takes time, hence the existence of an assortment of trusts and conservancies that put up initial money that enable these kinds of deals to take place. People are exploring that now, but the timetable may be too short for some of these groups, too.

Anyone know a rich individual who would want to make the loan that could be written into an eventual purchase deal?

Offline taggie

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Re: Garden School Play Yard
« Reply #25 on: December 02, 2010, 07:48:57 PM »
There are some issues here that should be clarified. Is this school an important educational partner in the Jackson Heights
community? My answer is a resounding yes. Then should the community want to work with them and put pressure on the
city to meet the monetary need here. Yes. And I wish that there would be contacts listed as to who to call in government to
express our concern here. Does anyone know besides Danny Dromm who is involved from the city? Factually, the Garden
School has other options regarding this space and/or their loans but they would like the property to go to the city.
 And here's the big but- does the city have the money now or in 12 months or in 5 years?  Does the city have other options to
get the funding expedited like the previous poster is hoping. A bridge loan for the city. The school's options on the other hand
look a lot like our government right now. They are not ideal but there are contingency plans. The cheese has been moved.
 One very important factor that should really be addressed is what to do with this "open space." Open to who and open for
what. This is a KNOWN FACTOR in the negotiation and I have not heard or seen any publicity on what this space would become.
Another ball field, a wooded mini park, community gardens. What is your best guess? This is important as aspects of
the negotiation hinge on this and the school is being, in my opinion, extremely accommodating. They value the community
tremendously and want the best situation for all. But painting the school as the problem when the deal could be done
tomorrow(hypothetically) if the city had the money and could say what the open space would become is not an accurate
portrayal of this transaction.

Offline toddg

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Re: Garden School Play Yard
« Reply #26 on: December 02, 2010, 10:07:46 PM »
Taggie, sorry to have to call B.S. here, but it looks to me like you're trying to muddy the waters and divert heat away from the Garden School.

The issues here seem pretty clear to me.  From a community perspective, the Garden School is acting recklessly with a precious resource.  They have the right to sell the land, but the community's interest is clearly not to sit back and let it happen.  Prospective purchasers should be forewarned that they will be in for a significant fight every step of the way. 

I would recommend that the community start by focusing on the subdivision that needs to take place for this sale to go through.  Is this an as-of-right procedure?  If not, I hope our elected officials are doing all they can to ensure that this subdivision is never approved.

My nightmare scenario is that the Garden School sells the land to a developer to stay afloat, and then folds anyway in a few years.  Is that scenario really all that implausible?  Perhaps the Garden School should be thinking more creatively of ways to stay afloat as an institution without selling out on their students and the community.



 

Offline taggie

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Re: Garden School Play Yard
« Reply #27 on: December 03, 2010, 06:13:24 AM »
Let's go to facts here in case of any confusion and/or muddy waters.
 Fact 1. Garden School approached the city about the potential sale first!- before thinking of anyone else. Yes, we bat for the same
           team. We are also "the community".
 Fact 2. Garden School is in Jackson Heights for 87 years now, through thick and thin. The Great Depression. Cocaine and gang wars.
           We are also "the community". Many of us are on volunteer groups throughout the community and have been for decades.
 Fact 3. Plans for the "open space" have not been coming forward from the city or any community group. This was a factor from the
           onset of negotiation. What is the projected use of the space and why delay if it needs to be answered?

Offline toddg

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Re: Garden School Play Yard
« Reply #28 on: December 03, 2010, 08:45:25 AM »
In the near term, if the Garden School has concerns about how the city would use the space, it can negotiate for them in the terms of sale (e.g. guarantees of day time access for Garden School students, city may not convert property to municipal parking lot, etc.).  

But it's a bit early for plans for the open space.  The city doesn't own it yet, so who is in a position to formulate these plans?  The Mayor's office?  The Parks Department?  The Community Board?  Councilman Dromm's office?   Each would no doubt have ideas for the site, but none can make a real plan and make it stick without a whole lot of process first.  I think the community would be eager to discuss plans for the site, but it's just becoming aware of the situation.  Plans will come later.

If the Garden School wants to see plans as a prerequisite for sale to the city, would it make the same demand of any private purchasers?  If not, why the double standard?

I think the community has a deep well of respect and fondness for the Garden School.  It's in everybody's interest for the Garden School to thrive.  But I do stand by my initial concern.  Putting this land for sale on the open market is reckless and endangers a scarce resource.  And it's okay for the community to oppose this action even while acknowledging the Garden School's long history here. 
« Last Edit: December 03, 2010, 09:03:58 AM by toddg »

Offline Queenskid

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Re: Garden School Play Yard
« Reply #29 on: December 03, 2010, 12:30:16 PM »


If the Garden School wants to see plans as a prerequisite for sale to the city, would it make the same demand of any private purchasers?  If not, why the double standard?

I think the community has a deep well of respect and fondness for the Garden School.  It's in everybody's interest for the Garden School to thrive.  But I do stand by my initial concern.  Putting this land for sale on the open market is reckless and endangers a scarce resource.  And it's okay for the community to oppose this action even while acknowledging the Garden School's long history here. 

I'm sorry Todd but I have to disagree.  Garden School is facing a dilemma: it needs money now; the only way to get the money is to sell an asset they own; they would like to sell it to the City, but the City may not be able to come up with the money in time.  What's the school supposed to do.  Close while they wait for the City.   Should they tell the students "sorry, we had the opportunity to save the school but we decided to shut down rather than take the steps necessary to keep our doors open."

This is private property.  The community is not entitled to it.  It would be nice if we have a happy ending, but that's not entirely in the hands of the Garden School.  They should do what they have to do in order to stay open and serve their students.  If the City can come up with the money in time, great.  If it can't, then the school will have to go to Plan B, even if that means exercising their right to sell their property on the open market.  Whatever the case, they are not the villians here.  They are not being reckless. They are a community institution that is trying to survive and if survival necessitates the sale of their private property so be it.

Jackson Heights Life

Re: Garden School Play Yard
« Reply #29 on: December 03, 2010, 12:30:16 PM »