E. Harlem African Burial Ground Plan Moves Closer to Final Approval

(Image from NYCEDC via City Limits)

The Economic Development Corporation’s plan to honor a desecrated burial ground for enslaved and free African remains discovered at the 126th Street bus depot in East Harlem moved one step closer to reality on July 26 when the City Planning Commission approved the plan.

The commission passed with a unanimous vote the plan to develop an African Burial Ground memorial and a mixed-use development with housing at the site, reports Abigail Savitch-Lew in City Limits. The plan will go to the City Council for final approval.

The city’s plan would create an outdoor memorial and indoor cultural center, commercial space and roughly 730 units of housing. The city has committed to ensuring 20 percent of those units are targeted to households making less than $25,770 for a family of three, and another 30 percent are targeted to families making no more than $68,720 for a family of three. No developer or exact site plan has yet been chosen, but in one scenario the city imagines a 19-story and a 34-story building.

EDC and the Department of City Planning (DCP) have agreed to establish an urban design review protocol that will allow the chair of the commission (also the executive director of DCP) to inform the development and design of the project, assuming it receives the City Council’s approval, and to ensure the commission’s goals for the site are realized.

Go to City Limits to read about some of the concerns that have been expressed about the plan by residents, as well as comments by two representatives of the United Confederation of Taino People, who seek acknowledgement of the Lenape Indian settlement at this site.

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