NY Daily News: Councilwoman Jessica Lappin, state Sen. Daniel Squadron push to build genius school on their turf
BY Reuven Blau
Novemeber 16, 2011
State Sen. Daniel Squadron says his downtown Brooklyn district is perfect fit for building genius school. But Councilwoman Jessica Lappin says Roosevelt Island, in her district, is an ideal spot.
A turf war for the city’s so-called genius school is brewing as elected officials angle to have the applied science campus constructed in their districts.
City Councilwoman Jessica Lappin held a press conference Wednesday to push for the Roosevelt Island site in her district, while state Sen. Daniel Squadron (D-Brooklyn, Manhattan) started lobbying for a downtown Brooklyn site. Lappin (D-Manhattan) is urging residents in her district to flood Mayor Bloomberg’s inbox with messages to build the genius school on the island.
“It’s the most accessible,” she said on the steps of City Hall. “We have a tram that gets you there in three minutes from Manhattan.”
But Squadron insists that an empty building in his downtown Brooklyn district would be a better fit. The 459,000-square-foot building on 370 Jay St. was previously home to Metropolitan Transportation Authority headquarters, but has been abandoned for years. “Finding a productive use for it would be a gamechanger for Brooklyn,” Squadron said.
Seven universities filed final proposals earlier this month as they compete for the chance to use free city land and up to $100 million in taxpayer funds to build a state-of-the-art tech school within the five boroughs.
Squadron pointed out that the Brooklyn location would likely not need all that money — and suggested using the leftover funds for another school.
“The idea that there needs to only be one is false,” he said.
The city’s Economic Development Corp. is reviewing the applications. The schools had the option of locating at a privately owned site or cityowned areas.
The seven schools have suggested different locations.
Cornell University and Stanford University both sought Roosevelt Island, while NYU has asked to move to the Brooklyn location.
Deputy Mayor Robert Steel has heralded bringing a new high-tech university to the city and has made the initiatives one of his top priorities.