While we’re talking about mega-projects, let’s catch up with the news on Columbia’s expansion into Manhattanville.  Somehow we missed Nick Sprayregen’s editorial in last week’s Post.  Sprayregen is a Manhattanville business owner whose property is threatned by Columbia’s plan.  He explores Columbia’s potential use of eminent domain, and pledges, “I remain steadfast that Columbia has met its match in me. I will not back down; I’ll do everything I can to show the ESDC and the courts why eminent domain should not be used here. If need be, I will litigate this matter all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.”

Meanwhile, The Eminent Domain reports that Columbia and the West Harlem Local Development Corporation (minus the three members who resigned) have reached an agreement on $150 million in unspecified community benefits, of which $76 million will be devoted to “a flexible benefit fund to be overseen by a committee of community and Columbia representatives.”  They write, “Think about that $76 million for a moment. That’s equivalent to Yankee Stadium’s $800,000 annual ‘community’ pledge to Bronx elected officials — for 95 years. We’ll have to wait to see the language of the agreement, of course, but unless the promised body overseeing this thing is a paragon of democracy, what we have here is essentially a long-term purchase of elected officials’ compliance, long after Borough President Scott Stringer, Councilmember Robert Jackson and other parties to this deal will have been term-limited out of office.” 

Do you agree?  Comments welcome…

(UPDATE: Our post on how Council Members voted on the Columbia expansion was not entirely complete at the time it was written.  For the record, the five who opposed the Columbia 197-c were: Avella, Barron, Ignizio, Fidler, and James; while the 6 Abstentions were Mendez, Gioia, Foster, Monserrate, Vallone, and White.)

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