In a move that will surprise precisely no one, Upper West Side residents are getting furious about the American Museum of Natural History's plan to build a massive expansion project in the adjacent Theodore Roosevelt Park
West Side Rag spotted an online petition dedicated to stopping development of the park, and spoke to one of the campaign's organizers, Sig Gissler (who also happens to be the former administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes).
Gissler says that there is already "vehement opposition" to the project, which is still in its early stages.
"The museum aims to create a center to promote scientific research and education — in theory, a commendable goal. And backed by the wealthy and influential, the museum seems accustomed to getting its way. However, in terms of community impact and well-being, the expansion is reckless and insensitive. It should be stopped – or sharply revised to fully preserve parkland." The park is managed by the city, AMNH, and a nonprofit group called Friends of Roosevelt Park, who have yet to comment on the plans in any significant fashion.
The 218,000-square-foot expansion would house the new Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education and Innovation and would cost around $325 million. It is being designed by Jeanne Gang.
Back when the project was first announced, The Times predicted that the expansion would "face close scrutiny from residents of the Upper West Side." Knowing the neighborhood, that will probably turn out to be the understatement of the century.
· Locals Petition to Stop Museum of Natural History from Building on Parkland [WSR]
· Petition: Save Theodore Roosevelt Park [Change.org]
· All American Museum Of Natural History coverage [Curbed]