The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation announced today that its Board of Directors has approved funding for a community-based planning process that will serve as a template for improving Chinatown – helping to realize a longtime goal of Lower Manhattan’s community leaders.
The comprehensive community improvement plan will examine various needs including affordability, culture and historic preservation, economic development and revitalization, education and schools, immigrant affairs and social services, , transportation and security, zoning, and parks, open space and recreation.
The study – which will be conducted by the Chinatown Working Group - will set sustainable and achievable goals to transform the future of Chinatown. A $150,000 grant from the LMDC will fund the hiring of planning consultants and pay for related translation services to help complete the plan.
Created in 2008, the Working Group is a coalition of 48 member organizations that play a significant role in the direction of Chinatown, a community that is still recovering from the negative effects of the 9/11 attacks. The group includes Manhattan Community Boards 1, 2 and 3. The Working Group was established to develop a community-based planning initiative and also to develop a rezoning proposal for submission to the New York City Department of City Planning.
Chinatown Working Group Co-Chairs Jim Solomon and Thomas Yu said: "The Chinatown Working Group appreciates the much-needed funding for its community-based planning process. The LMDC's grant will help enable the Chinatown Working Group to create a comprehensive plan for community improvement."
"The residents of Chinatown will benefit enormously from the planning process the Working Group is about to embark on," said LMDC Director of Planning and Development Sayar Lonial. "Chinatown was one of the hardest hit areas in Lower Manhattan after 9/11 and the community is still working hard on recovery. This community plan will serve as a blueprint for the future direction of Chinatown."
State Senator Daniel Squadron said: "The Chinatown Working Group's collaborative, inclusive approach to this too-often ignored neighborhood has earned kudos across the community, and all of Lower Manhattan. That's why I have supported their work and am so pleased that through collaboration with former Councilmember Gerson, Councilmember Chin and the Mayor's office, LMDC is providing this grant -- which will go a long way to help us ensure a bright future for all of Chinatown."
City Councilmember Margaret Chin said: "I am happy to see funding for the Chinatown Working Group, which needs resources to help move this community into the future."
Manhattan Community Board 1 Chair Julie Menin said: "Community Board 1 has worked alongside Boards 2 and 3 and numerous civic groups in Chinatown to advocate for a planning initiative for Chinatown to address the issues of economic development, job creation, schools, affordable housing and other important concerns to the community. Through this LMDC grant, there will be a comprehensive plan for Chinatown that helps the community secure its future after the still devastating affects of September 11th on the neighborhood."
Dominic Pisciotta and Susan Stetzer, Chair and District Manager for Community Board 3 said: "Community Board 3 is very grateful that Lower Manhattan Development Corporation is supporting our community-led planning initiative for Chinatown. LMDC’s funding support will allow us to have meaningful and inclusive participation in decision making for our community."