The budget for New York City is being cut, but Millennium High School and Battery Park City are getting funding for a gym and library.
Councilmember Alan Gerson said the budget, announced Sunday night at 11 p.m., included $250,000 in funding for Millennium High, located at 75 Broad St. This money is supplemented by $750,000 in Department of Education funds that will also be used for the gym. This funding comes on top of money Millennium received earlier from Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Gerson. Overall, the school will have over $2 million for the gym.
“It was a terrible budget overall, but there were a few bright spots,” Gerson said. “The gym is one of them.”
Gerson said that this money should be enough to start construction on a gym at Millennium in July, and he projects it could be finished by spring ’09. He said that the School Construction Authority has already finished plans for the gym.
Gerson hopes that this victory is only one of many. He said that he plans to lobby for gyms in every school in the city. He is going to ask for a commitment in the five-year capital plan, which will be developed in November, to ensure that the city uses funds in the future for gyms.
“[The City Council] must ensure that every school has a full-fledged gym,” Gerson said. “A multi-purpose center won’t do.”
Along with the money for the gym, the city will be giving $1.57 million for the Battery Park City library. The Battery Park City Authority has donated $200,000 in capital funds for the project’s completion, making the total funding more than $1.7 million.
These funds will be coming at a time when the city is cutting its overall capital budget by 20 percent. The budget for fiscal year 2009 is projected to be around $59 billion.
Gerson said that even though Lower Manhattan has won some victories in securing money for the gym and library, he said that one project that didn’t receive money that desperately needs it is Fiterman Hall, a Borough of Manhattan Community College building that was damaged on 9/11. He said that the structure needs to be rebuilt or it will be another hole in the ground.
“I think it’s politically motivated,” Gerson said. “It’s a dangerous game because it’s coming at the expense of B.M.C.C. students.”
-- Laura Latzko