Not a Solution For P.S. 163

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To the Editor:

“Nursing Home Help For Crowded School” (April 1) raises disturbing questions about a misguided approach to solving overcrowding at P.S. 163, on West 97th Street. The article states that P.S. 163 and Jewish Home Lifecare are discussing the construction of a sheltered walkway between P.S. 163 and a new Bloomingdale Library branch, to be located inside a Jewish Home Lifecare building proposed for West 100th Street. Money for the project might come from Borough President Scott Stringer and Assembly Member Daniel O’Donnell.

We ask why our elected officials will not allocate the same taxpayer funds simply to build a walkway between P.S. 163 and the existing branch of the Bloomingdale Library—a far less disruptive alternative to constructing a 22-story nursing home building.

The most straightforward solution to this muddled situation is to convince the Department of and the School Construction Authority to build new classrooms for P.S. 163 behind the school, where temporary classroom trailers are located; to require Jewish Home Lifecare and the Chetrit Group to utilize the zoning carve-out that was given to Jewish Home Lifecare to enable it to modernize its 106th Street campus; and to abandon the wrong-headed idea of building a 22-story nursing home on a street that is already overburdened.

It is troubling that P.S. 163 and Jewish Home Lifecare have kept neighborhood residents in the dark about negotiations that may result in a profoundly negative affect on our quality of life. We need our elected officials to guarantee the transparency of what ought to be a public discourse, and to take a public stand on the critical land use issues that confront the residents of the Park West Village neighborhood.

Paul S. Bunten and Hillel Hoffman

President and vice president of Westsiders for Public Participation, Inc.

Letters have been edited for clarity, style and brevity.

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