In the coming days, the New York City Council will make a final evaluation of Fordham University’s plan to expand its Lincoln Center campus. We urge the Council to support this proposal, which has undergone several important modifications since Community Board 7 initially voted it down in January.
The expansion would add nine new buildings for Fordham, as well as commercial space and two luxury apartment towers to help fund the school’s endowment. The center of the campus, bordered by West 60th and 62nd streets and Columbus and Amsterdam avenues, would offer an outdoor area accessible to the public.
Critics of the plan have complained about building height and bulk, as well as community access to the campus and the potential for increased crowding at public schools. Many of these concerns were addressed by Borough President Scott Stringer, who brokered a deal in February that reduced square footage, increased public space and access, and cut parking in half. In April, the City Planning Commission passed the plan with additional modifications.
Council Member Gale Brewer, whose district includes Fordham, will now play a crucial role in getting the plan approved. One concession she’s pressing for is for Fordham to get involved with after school programming at nearby Martin Luther King, Jr. High School. We think that’s a great idea, and an excellent way for Fordham to further its connection to the neighborhood.
The neighborhood needs Fordham, too. The university hosts free legal clinics, sends teachers into public schools and brings expertise to various social service outlets throughout the city. But without an adequate campus, the school cannot continue providing students with a first-rate education and will lose its competitive edge. Fordham is a local educational gem that deserves our support, and the Council should approve the university’s plan.
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