High Line, N.Y.U., museum, FAB, F.E.G.S. all request stimulus funds

By Heather Murray

Friends of the High Line has put in a $4.25 million request for federal stimulus funding, which if awarded by the state would cover costs of an elevator/stairway entrance to the High Line at W. 30th St. and two viewing areas in the High Line’s second section, between W. 20th and 30th Sts.

“There were a limited number of things we could apply for,” said Joshua David, co-founder of Friends of the High Line. “The only ones identified as being shovel-ready are a group of structural components for Section 2, which we don’t yet have funding for.”

The first section of the High Line — from Gansevoort St. to W. 20th St. — is expected to open in June, and the second section during 2010.

Even without the promise of funding through the stimulus package, the High Line already has $237,500 coming its way in the 2009 federal budget.

David said F.H.L. would have liked to apply for funding for the last section of the High Line, as well, but that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act wouldn’t cover a project not likely to break ground in the coming months. Both State Senator Tom Duane and Assemblymember Richard Gottfried support F.H.L.’s application for stimulus funds.

Shovel-ready or not, 878 pages worth of projects have been submitted as of last week to the state’s Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Cabinet, appointed by Governor David Paterson in February to oversee the distribution of state and local funds for projects involving transportation, water and sewer, energy, technology and other infrastructure.

Among Downtown projects, the Lower East Side’s Educational Alliance is asking for $15 million for the modernization and expansion of its community center, The Quintessential Urban Community Center.

Also, the Lower East Side Tenement Museum is seeking $2 million for the renovation of 103 Orchard St., the museum’s new building. The Tenement Museum is looking to convert the building into an immigrant heritage center, which will provide enhanced classroom space, theater and performance space, culinary facilities, visitor orientation, retail and exhibition space.

New York University is proposing $650 million in modernization projects, including greening, energy efficiency, fire safety and A.D.A. compliance.

Planned Parenthood’s Margaret Sanger Center on Bleecker St. has proposed a $1.9 million expansion project to add 5,400 square feet to its current space, along with renovating office spaces.

A $250,000 sector-training initiative is being proposed by F.E.G.S., a Hudson St.-based workforce-development organization, in partnership with Community Board 4 and the Desmond Tutu Center at the General Theological Seminary. The initiative would recruit, assess and train a minimum of 50 low-income individuals in the Chelsea/Clinton area and prepare them for positions in a new hotel opening in December 2009.

The Fourth Arts Block (FAB) is requesting $2.5 million to improve the E. Fourth St. Cultural District’s energy efficiency through an energy-solutions project. The project includes weatherizing buildings and installing a solar-panel system in the district’s 10 cultural facilities and 18 low-income housing sites. FAB is also requesting $3.4 million for six capital projects in the district.