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April 2009 Newsletter

1) PRESS CONFERENCE ON FEB. 19TH

On Thursday, Feb. 19th, Cooper Square Committee and GOLES joined with Senator Daniel Squadron and Liz Kruger, Councilmember Rosie Mendez and Borough President Scott Stringer’s office to organize a press conference about personal use evictions in front of 47 E. 3rd Street, site of a 5 year legal battle against owner occupancy mass eviction. Tenants will have to vacate the building by August, 2009. Senators Squadron and Kruger have introduced legislation in the NYS Senate to close the loophole in the NYS rent laws that allows multifamily building owners to evict an entire building to turn it into their personal mansion.
The Assembly has already passed 10 bills that will strengthen tenant protections, including limiting personal use evictions to 1 unit per building. Squadron’s bill aims to do the same. Tenants throughout NYC are encouraged to call their local Senators urging them to support these tenant protection bills!!!
2) SAVING CHARAS/EL BOHIO!!!
The Charas building, an important community space at E. 9th Street between Avenues B & C, has been at the center of a decade-long fight between the community and developer Gregg Singer. Today, the building, with over 100,000 sq. ft. of space that could be put to productive community use AS THE DEED REQUIRES, sits vacant, deteriorating by the day.
The Cooper Square Committee joined Borough President Scott Stringer, Councilmember Rosie Mendez, Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh, Senator Daniel Squadron, the East Village Community Coalition, the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, GOLES, Peoples MHA, Cooper Square MHA, University Settlement, Picture the Homeless, Community Board 3, CODA, Reverend Billy and others at a PRESS CONFERENCE on MONDAY, MARCH 9TH AT 5:30 PM AT CHARAS (East 10th St. between Ave. B & C) to call for an end to what appears to be the willful neglect and decay of this historic East Village landmark.
The owner, who has lost several court battles to overturn landmark designation, has removed historic details from the building and left it open and exposed to the elements. The Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) has called upon the building owner to seal the building, but he has thus far refused; the LPC can levy fines against the owner, but has not yet. Demand that the City take decisive action to force Gregg Stringer to maintain this precious community resource.
3) STRATEGIC PLANNING PROCESS:
The Cooper Square Committee is engaging in a Community Needs Assessment and Strategic Planning Process and will be issuing our new 3-Year Strategic Plan by May, 2009. Since starting this undertaking last Fall, we have done the following:
- Conducted in person and online surveys of 180 community residents, business owners and stakeholders (findings will be in our Strategic Plan).
- Held Strategic Planning Workshops on January 17th and February 28th. They were attended by a total of 55 people. The three areas that stakeholders chose to focus on were 1) preserving and developing affordable housing in our community; 2) promoting the greening of the community, particularly the housing stock; and 3) developing a new generation of younger leadership between the ages of 21 and 45 who are significantly underrepresented in the political process.
The Strategic Planning Report will highlight the community needs that have been identified, restate our mission statement, describe our strategic goals, propose changes to our programs and services, identify program outcomes and measures of success, production goals, and the level of resources need to implement our programs effectively.
4) COOPER SQUARE COMMITTEE IS AWARDED A HOUSING PROGRAM GRANT:
The Cooper Square Committee is happy to announce that we have been awarded a 3 year Housing Program grant by the NYC Dept. of Youth and Community Development, beggining July 1st. The $52,800 per year contract will help fund part of the salaries of our 2 full time Housing Specialists who work to prevent evictions, organize tenants, and preserve the local affordable housing stock.
5) PLANNING FOR OUR 50th ANNIVERSARY GALA:
The Cooper Square Committee will be celebrating our 50th anniversary on Thursday, Oct. 22nd. The location of the event is to be determined. We are in the process of lining up sponsors. Sponsors will include activists, writers, elected officials and community minded corporations. Please save the date! If you’d like to get involved in our planning committee, contact Daniel Weinberg at 212-228-8210. We will be sending out invites this Summer.
6) OUR STOREFRONT OFFICE GETS A FACELIFT:
Cooper Square Committee’s storefront at 59-61 E. 4th St. has recently undergone a $70,000 renovation. The work was paid for with funds from Main Street funds from the NYS Housing Trust Fund, the JM Kaplan Fund, and private funds matched by our building, which is owned by a consortium of non-profits.
The new storefront features more glass, better lighting, more stylish motorized gates and a discount ticket window for the many theaters on the block, which will be run by Fourth Arts Block (opening April 24th). We’re pleased with the new look, which improves our visibility to the general public. The work also contributes to the ongoing process of greening our workspace with more energy efficient windows and more natural light.
7) JOIN US ON FACEBOOK:
To get more information about upcoming Cooper Square Committee activities, you can join the Cooper Square Committee group on Facebook. We regularly update upcoming events on that group. We are in the process of substantially revising our website, and it will contain community updates, links to articles and other features.
8) JOIN US FOR AIDS WALK NEW YORK ON MAY 17th:

Friends of Cooper Square are participating in AIDS WALK NEW YORK on Sunday, May 17th. To join our team, go to www.aidswalk.net and register. You can select our team when you register online. Or you can call (212) 807-WALK (9255) and tell them your team # is 4734 when you call. We hope you can join us to raise funds for people living with HIV/AIDS.