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High Line Organizers Ask Locals To Help With Maintenance

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The group that runs the High Line park on the West Side of Manhattan is generating some attention of its own by proposing that local residents and businesses foot the bill for its maintenance. NY1's Roger Clark filed the following report.

The former elevated railway known as the High Line Park is attracting tens of thousands of visitors to Manhattan's West Side every week.

The group Friends of the High Line has an agreement with the city Parks Department to maintain the overhead park, which runs from Gansevoort Street to 20th Street on the West Side, and will soon extend another 10 blocks north when complete.

The cost to maintain the park is an estimated $3-$4 million a year.

The group expects to raise most of that through donations, but also wants property owners in the area, both commercial and residential, to pay up, through a High Line Improvement District, similar to the business improvement districts around the city.

"For the buildings really close to the High Line, it would be nine cents a square foot, and then those farther away on the other side of Tenth Avenue, would be three cents a square foot, and that's an annual assessment," said Robert Hammond of Friends of the High Line.

For example, the owner of a 1,000 square foot apartment nearest the park would pay $7.50 a month, or $90 a year; $30 a year for those a little farther away.

Friends of the High Line is hoping that would raise one-million dollars annually to pay for gardening, trash removal, bathroom attendants and crowd control staff.

"One of the groups that is benefiting from the High Line would also be helping contribute to its success," explained Hammond.

Some visitors to the High Line who spoke to NY1 said they were against the proposal.

"I'm not sure why they are looking to get the tenants to dig into their pockets now," said one High Line visitor.

"I think it would be fairer if it were spread out through the whole city," said another. "Not just the people who are close to it."

"It doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me," said a third. "It feels to me like a lot of people who use the park come from other places."

But, there were others who told NY1 they would not mind chipping in.

"It's fine with me," said a New Yorker. "This park is very, very expensive. It's an amazing amenity for the neighborhood."

"Oh, absolutely I would do this, absolutely," said another.

The process of creating the district is just in its beginning stages. There must be a public review and approval from the City Planning Commission and City Council.

Two public meetings will be held this week to discuss the proposal. The first is tonight at 6:30 p.m. on the Ninth Floor of 511 West 25th Street. The other is Thursday morning at 9 at the same location.

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