Columbia University's Proposed Expansion Comes Under Fire From Activists
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Columbia University's expansion plans, along with an alternate version proposed by a local community board, came before the city's planning board for discussion Monday.
The university’s plans, announced three ago, would add new facilities for the school north of its current Morningside Heights location, but they’re not sitting well with members of the community.
Neighborhood activists say the planning for the project has been rushed, and that they are being left out of their neighborhood's future.
“This is an eviction plan which will result in a massive disruption of people's lives, and we believe that we need and the community needs significant time to be able to defend ourselves,” says Tom DeMott of Coalition to Preserve the Community.
"We actually have a complete and unequivocal commitment to those who live within the 132 residential units now,” said La-Verna Fountain of Columbia University. “There are only 132 residential units and we are completely committed to those individuals living there to ensuring we provide them with equal or better housing."
"This is disenfranchisement of a community that has been historically disenfranchised,” said St. Mary’s Church pastor Earl Kooperkamp. “We are here to tell City Planning today: put a break on this railroad."
The proposed $7 billion expansion of Columbia between 129th and 133rd Streets would be the school's largest since moving to its current location in 1897.