From the NY Times:
After more than a year of negotiations, New York City has reached a deal to take control of Governors Island from the state, moving a prime 172-acre piece of waterfront real estate into the hands of a land-starved city and closer to an ambitious redevelopment, city and state officials announced on Sunday.
The agreement would allow the city to convert much of the former military outpost into a public park. The city also plans to add a high school, some commercial development and potentially a satellite campus for New York University on Governors Island, which sits a half mile off the southern tip of Manhattan.
Over the years, government efforts at redeveloping the island, long viewed as a rough, underused gem in New York Harbor, have been frustrated by jurisdictional battles, lack of money and unique development constraints.
The acquisition of Governors Island would be a major contribution to the physical legacy of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s administration, which has made the development of public parks a priority.
The city’s acquisitions could put a strain on its budget, which faces a $5 billion deficit next year. Operating Governors Island is expected to cost about $20 million over the next five years, officials said, on top of the $40 million the city has already set aside.
So we're too broke to build parks in neighborhoods that need them, but are willing to assume more debt for a park where no one lives. Makes sense. Here's more from Neighborhood Retail Alliance:
Rah! Rah! The hell with the police force, the libraries and the firehouses-not to mention the beleaguered city tax payers. How can they compare with the mayor's legacy? In the NY Post, Michael Goodwin's view is a bit more jaundiced: "If insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result, then New York City is certifiably crazy. Already facing a $5 billion budget gap, unemployment above 10 percent, an ominous spike in crime and other signs of disorder, City Hall is nonetheless expanding its prohibitively expensive services. The added burdens reflect pet projects of politicians, and will do little to improve the quality of life for most New Yorkers, even as they drive up taxes. Mayor Bloomberg is ready to spend tens of millions on Governors Island, including building a high school accessible only by expensive ferryboat. He took control of the 172-acre property and assumed most of the costs from the state. He also has his eyes on buying Battery Park City from Albany."
And Goodwin is right on the money-our money! And he's got the mayor's number-not believing thew hype of the Bloomberg acumen for a second: "All these ambitious projects come as the city can't afford the level of services it already provides. Its $63 billion budget, despite increasing by more than 50 percent under Bloomberg, was recently called "bare bones" by a writer. As laughable as the concept is, the city is squeezed. It spent the soaring tax revenues from the boom, its debt service is about to double, and it's now shedding or reducing essential services even as it layers on new responsibilities."