What’s Next for the Harlem African Burial Ground

Rev. Patricia Singletary, of the Elmendorf Reformed Church and co-chair of the Harlem African Burial Ground Task Force, at the open house last week. She voiced her support for “a memorial that respects the past, educates those in the present and offers peace and solace.” (Photo by Emily Dixon via The Uptowner)

Rev. Patricia Singletary, of the Elmendorf Reformed Church and co-chair of the Harlem African Burial Ground Task Force, at the open house last week. She voiced her support for “a memorial that respects the past, educates those in the present and offers peace and solace.” (Photo by Emily Dixon via The Uptowner)

New York City has started the planning process to redevelop the site of the Harlem African Burial Ground – where people of African descent, free and enslaved, were buried from the 1600s to the 1800s. Until last year, the site had been occupied by the 126th Street Bus Depot. The NYC Economic Development Corporation President and CEO Maria Torres-Springer joined community members at an open house last week in which they put forth ideas for the site, reports The Uptowner’s Emily Dixon. Suggestions included a memorial, affordable housing and space for small businesses.

Preliminary estimates indicate that the development will comprise 1.1 million square feet, with 30,000 square feet dedicated to the memorial at its heart, 315,000 for commercial use and 655,215 for residences.

“The proposal is for mixed-use residential,” said Borough President Gale Brewer, “but my preference would be 100 percent affordable housing.”

A public “scoping meeting” will take place Sept. 27 at Hunter College’s Silberman School of Social Work, as part of community engagement efforts, which will take place over the next couple of months, according to Diane Collier, Community Board 11 chair.

What prompted potential developers of the site to now become, as Collier put it, “mindful and respect of the site”? Go to The Uptowner for the full story, which includes more on the history of the burial ground and the open house.

One Comment

  1. Pearl Barkley says:

    Well at least the ancestors will be acknowledged!! I just where they went and how many stayed in Harlem.

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