More on the Glass House and Peacock Park
I spoke with Ron Nelson, District Commissioner Marc Sarnoff's Chief of Staff. He told me that only one side is available for commercial use, but I think we knew that. And of course the City still owns the Glass House, it's only leasing part of it for a restaurant or maybe something else.
The side up for RFP is the side facing the water, it's 1900 square feet inside and the outside patio area is 600 square feet, the rest of the 7226 square feet will be used as a community center run by the Parks Department and staffed by at least one person daily, who works for the Parks Department.
As for St. Stephen's they are cleaning up the one area round the glass house, but they have no control over the glass house. For decades, St. Stephen's has used the park as it's own back yard. They paid an annual use permit which was about $153.00. For this small fee they took control of the whole park. Now under the new deal with the city, they are only permitted to use certain areas from 8 am to 3 pm, school days only.
The guy that ran the skateboard park in the back, ran it into the ground. He was given a year to clean it up and run it as a business. He did not conform to the city's demands. He opened only sporadically it never had set times and it was run down and dangerous, so he lost the skate park.
The new revocable license agreement/use agreement that St. Stephen's signed, is for a period of 10 years. Currently St. Stephen’s renews an Annual Use Permit each year, which allows them use of the entire park for one year. This new agreement acknowledges their contribution and eliminates the need to renew their annual agreement for 10 years. It is NOT a lease, it conveys NO property rights and it is revocable with 10 day notice. It also limits St. Stephen’s to a small portion of the park during school hours, thus making much more of the park available to the public . This arose when St Stephen’s came asking for some improvements to be made to the park.
They were rightly told that they have used the park for 40 years or more and maybe it is time to give back. They happily accepted that challenge and the result is $500,000 worth of improvements to the park. With these improvements comes the promise from the City to reclaim the NET Office as park space and bring on a full time manager in order to add programming to the park. I love the fact that the City didn't just roll over and fix up the park because St. Stephen's asked for that. I feel that the City did the right thing here.
The basketball court (old shuffleboard) is where a CrossFit/free play surface will be. The existing basketball court next to the proposed soccer fields will be rerurbished. No new hard surface is being added to the park. The school will only have exclusive use of the proposed soccer fields and the adjoining basketball court during school hours. The proposed soccer fields and the adjoining basketball court will be available to the public during all other hours. The open field at the southern end of the park will remain untouched. Currently the school gets a permit to use that field and all other parts of the park during school hours. They will no longer use that field thus making the field even more available for public use than it is currently.
St. Stephen's will be using between 3 and 5% of the park under the new agreement.
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