NYS Seal For Immediate Release:
February 20, 2002
Silver Welcomes LMDC Plan to Aid Lower Manhattan Residents, Criticizes Important Omissions

A $220 million federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) assistance plan for current and prospective residents of Lower Manhattan is a good start but does not address other vital issues affecting the stabilization and revitalization of downtown communities, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said today.

"I am gratified that Congress has specifically recognized the needs of residential communities in Lower Manhattan, and I am pleased that the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) has made stabilizing and revitalizing these areas a priority," Silver said. "The 65,000 residents of downtown deserve every assurance that their neighborhoods will not bear the brunt of a despicable terrorist attack that was aimed at all Americans.

"I am also pleased at the LMDC board's willingness to discuss these issues with me, and I believe this constructive approach has already led to improvements in this plan," Silver added. "Placing a critical emphasis on residential stabilization as part of their plan makes an important statement in our country's war on terrorism."

Silver called for the following changes in the LMDC plan:

  • Grant and bonus caps should be raised, both to compensate for the traumatic impact of the events of 9/11 and cleanup costs and losses incurred as a result of those occurrences, and to reflect the ongoing changes in day-to-day life for Lower Manhattan residents, who will continue to face hardship and inconvenience as the ground zero site is cleared and redeveloped.

  • Resident property owners should be compensated for loss of value in addition to receiving incentives to stay in Lower Manhattan, in acknowledgement of the fact that the housing market in the area has softened dramatically as a result of the events of 9/11.

  • Impact zones should be expanded to include all who have been affected, and the zone boundaries should reflect existing neighborhoods.

  • All rent strikes and outstanding resident actions must be resolved. The governor, mayor and LMDC must work with the Battery Park City Authority (BPCA) to reach a negotiated settlement of the rent strike there without further negative impact on residents. Last week, the BPCA indicated that it would proceed with eviction or foreclosure proceedings against Battery Park City rent strike participants.

"Funding must be made available now through the BPCA and the LMDC assistance plan to settle the rent strikes that continue at Battery Park City," Silver said. "We have the means to address this problem and we must not allow it to fester any longer - these residents have suffered enough."

The assistance plan is expected to be approved by the LMDC at a board meeting tomorrow. It earmarks $220 million in HUD funds for grants to current or new residents of Lower Manhattan to pay a portion of rent or mortgage payments.

Under the proposed plan, those residents closest to ground zero - Broadway and west, Chambers Street and south - would be eligible for assistance grants of up to $12,000 over two years. Those who live south of Canal and Rutgers Streets but outside the "immediate impact zone" would be eligible for up to $6,000 over two years. Any resident who resided in either area on 9/11 would also receive a one-time "bonus" payment of $1,000.

The LMDC plan is subject to final approval by HUD, upon completion of a 30-day public comment period.


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