Mayor Bill de Blasio, in response to the uproar over the sale of the Rivington House AIDS hospice to luxury condo developers, has overhauled the city’s system of lifting deed restrictions and promised to spend the city’s $16 million windfall from the sale to build “affordable senior housing” on the Lower East Side.
Not good enough, say local residents, who have gathered more than 1,500 signatures on a petition as of Wednesday, DNAinfo reports. The petition drive, led by Neighbors to Save Rivington House with the support of local politicians and Community Board 3, demands that the city reinstate the deed restriction and “return Rivington House to the people of the Lower East Side.”
“We’re going to keep trying to fight for the building to come back to the community,” said Melissa Aase, executive director of the University Settlement, which provides social services for young, elderly and low-income residents.
Adds Susan Stetzer, district manager of Community Board 3, “The CB did not ask for money to mitigate the loss of Rivington House nursing home beds.”
Some blunders, it turns out, can’t be papered over with money. Meanwhile, the city comptroller, state attorney general and Department of Citywide Administrative Services are continuing separate investigations into the lifting of the deed restriction that had required Rivington House to remain a non-profit nursing facility in perpetuity.
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