From the Wall Street Journal:
Residents of Jackson Heights are making an 11th-hour attempt to prevent an athletic field owned by a private school from being taken over by a developer.
The Garden School, which runs from nursery school through 12th grade, has been struggling financially and was in talks with the city to sell its 29,000-square-foot athletic field situated across from Travers Park on 78th Street.
However, trustees of the 87-year-old Queens school voted last week to reject the city's offer, choosing instead to consider bids from developers. The city wasn't offered the opportunity to make a counterbid.
According to local City Council Member Daniel Dromm, who was facilitating sale talks with the city, the Department of Parks & Recreation made an offer of $4.7 million for 20,000 square feet of land or $4.8 million for the entire field, with a clause allowing the Garden School to use the property during school hours.
At an emergency community meeting Wednesday night attended by about 150 residents, school officials said they wanted to work with the city but they were facing financial pressures to move quickly.
"Our first choice has always been a deal with the city with a park, but we don't want to put the Garden School at risk," said Arthur Gruen, president of the school's board of trustees.
Mr. Gruen said the school had received a bid of $5.4 million for a plan to build apartments on the field. He didn't identify the bidder, but said there was no deal yet. Other developers are also interested, he said.
The Wednesday meeting concluded with community members saying they would approach banks and foundations in an attempt to forestall an immediate sale of the property.