CHARAS-64 UPDATE: Rosie & Community Leaders With Cooper Union President

Chino Garcia of CHARAS

On June 6th, Rosie—along with her colleagues Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh and State Senator Brad Hoylman—convened an important community meeting between members of Save Our Community Center CHARAS-64 (SOCCC-64) and the President of Cooper Union, Jamshed Bharucha.  This meeting was called in response to reports that Cooper Union has signed a written agreement to reserve almost 200 beds at a proposed (but not yet approved) dormitory to be constructed at 605 East 9th Street—the former home of the beloved CHARAS/El Bohio Cultural and Community Center.  At the meeting, members of the community who were instrumental in making CHARAS a thriving and vital community center for many decades presented the history of the site and the singularly essential programs and initiatives that it fostered and supported.  The circumstances surrounding the disposition of the site were also catalogued and the redoubtable point that this building is the literal and figurative epicenter of our community was made emphatically clear.  Arguments were made that the current plans at the site do not meet the legal standard for approval and the position that dormitory usage at this site is wholly inappropriate for this community was made definitive.  Conclusively, the group delivered a resounding and universal message to Cooper Union—the group universally believes that Cooper has a compelling opportunity and responsibility to reevaluate their decision and conclude that leasing proposed dormitory space at CHARAS is not in the best interest of Cooper and the community we all call home.  The group further believes that Cooper will preserve, enhance and grow their reputation in the community by reconsidering; conversely, moving forward on a speculative project with a developer that runs contrary to the wishes of the neighborhood and the provisions of 1 RCNY §51-01 (the “Dorm Rule”) will have costs that will last for generations.

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