In “This Manhattan Park Was Once A Gem. Now It’s a ‘No Man’s Land,‘” the New York Times’ Winnie Hu reports on community efforts to revitalize Sara D. Roosevelt Park, interviewing our neighborhood advocates including our friend K Webster of the SDR Park Coalition and our CEO Melissa Aase:
The loss of the [Sara D. Roosevelt] park house illustrates the challenges in a long-running struggle by residents and community groups to save a narrow sliver of urban parkland that straddles Manhattan’s Lower East Side and Chinatown neighborhoods. Built by city officials in 1934 as an urban renewal project to bring relief to families in squalid tenements, the park has become a catch basin for the city’s crime and drug problems and homeless crisis.
“This building is a dead space right now because it’s only for the toilet paper and the paint in there,” said Melissa Aase, the chief executive officer of University Settlement, a nonprofit that runs education and social service programs. “In a city that is becoming more and more dense, every possible welcoming space is needed to enhance the community.”