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Community Board 3 Wants to Put the Lowline On Hold

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It's less than two weeks to the city's deadline to submit preliminary proposals for the Lowline site on the Lower East Side, but the local community board, Manhattan's Community Board 3 is taking umbrage with the fact that it hasn't been included in the planning process, Bedford and Bowery reports.

The Board's land use committee met Wednesday night and called for the city to suspend its plans to request proposals for the former trolley terminal that sits below Delancey Street, that is the proposed site of an underground park.

That was the first time city officials were meeting with board members in regards to the project, and board members complained that they wanted to be clued into the project earlier on. City officials however told Bedford and Bowery that they had in fact reached out to the community board before the request for proposals went live.

There's concern among board members that a project like the Lowline might increase rents in the neighborhood and price out long term residents. The construction of the High Line increased the price of condos in Chelsea by 85 percent in five years, Bedford and Bowery reported earlier.

In November, the NYC Economic Development Corporation released a Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI) for the Williamsburg Trolley Terminal, as the proposed site of the Lowline is officially known. Unlike an RFP, and RFEI is more focused on generating preliminary ideas and plans. The city wants to look at different ways in which the site could be used, and how those plans would be made feasible.

The creators of the Lowline, Dan Barasch and James Ramsey have long eyed the space for their planned subterranean park, and have been actively working to make that a reality in the recent past. They raised $223,506 for the park in what was the most funded public art project on Kickstarter. They subsequently used those funds to create a prototype of the park, or Lowline Lab as they call it at a warehouse on Essex Street, and are now testing ways on making this park a reality at the lab.

The deadline for the city's RFEI is December 23. The city will begin reviewing the submissions early next year. The property is currently owned by the city and leased by the MTA.

· Community Board Balks as City Moves to Activate 'Lowline Site' [Beford & Bowery]
· Lowline Lab Offers a Glimpse of NYC's First Underground Park [Curbed]
· City Seeks 'Creative Responses' For Proposed Lowline Space [Curbed]
· Lowline Archives [Curbed]