Today’s news:

UNO urges mayor to get development site in gear

United Neighbors Organization (UNO) and St. Nicholas Neighborhood Preservation Corps members are urging Mayor Michael Bloomberg to move the process along to develop the Greenpoint Hospital site for affordable and senior housing.

On Sunday, volunteers distributed flyers, including a petition and a letter addressed to Mayor Bloomberg, to parishioners leaving mass at Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

Over the past few weeks, members of the United Neighors Organization (UNO) have been tabling throughout Williamsburg on Kingsland Avenue, on the Graham Avenue L train stop, and in the Swinging Sixties Senior Center (211 Ainslie Street) to raise awareness and generate support for the Greenpoint Hospital issue. So far, they have collected 700 letters, which they sent to the mayor’s office last week.

“That’s one of the things members decided after the Greenpoint Renaissance Enterprise Center meeting (GREC), was to follow−up from the presentation and start a letter−signing campaign,” said UNO member Rolando Guzman. “People are concerned and frustrated for the delay, that the city has in this issue. One of the groups that needs the most affordable housing right now, seniors and that’s why we’re moving forward with this letter writing campaign.”

Plans for developing the Greenpoint Hospital (Kingsland and Maspeth) for housing and senior facilities have been on the horizon of community leaders in Williamsburg for decades. The site was promised for affordable housing after the 2005 Greenpoint−Williamsburg waterfront rezoning agreement, and a request for proposal went out three years ago.

The project has been mired in delays and many residents have been critical of the city’s Department of Housing and Preservation Development (HPD) for stalling.

A spokesperson for the mayor’s office and for HPD both did not return calls for comment by the time this article went to press, but sources say that HPD is currently evaluating financial statements from four organizations which have submitted Requests for Proposals (RFP) for developing the hospital site.

“I’m concerned that the RFPs have been issued three years ago and we have no idea what’s going on with them,” said one Community Board 1 member who chose to remain anonymous. “That’s not right. We’ve had no input.”

Officials with Councilmember Diana Reyna said they supported the letter writing campaign if they were pushing for movement with the RFP process.

“Diana wants all advocates considered equally, especially if they are in Williamsburg and have a history of working in the community,” said Will Florentino, a spokesperson with Councilmember Reyna.

Tish Cianciatta, a CB1 member and GREC member, said that GREC has been meeting feverishly to debate how to best pressure the city to expedite the process. She commended city officials for several recent parks openings, including Bushwick Inlet Park, but wanted more accountability with regards to affordable housing development. Cianciatta, who favors a proposal submitted by St. Nicholas Neighborhood NPC, has lobbied in Albany for a nursing home on the site but is skeptical that the city will make a decision this year.

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