A citizens group called the East Harlem Business and Residents Alliance (BARA) has taken a stand against the proposed East River Plaza Home Depot/Costco shopping mall, saying it will “do more harm than good” for the community. BARA opposes the project because of 1) its proximity to 4 schools and a large park; 2) it’s plan to remain open 24 hours a day; 3) its draw of 2.35 million cars and 11,240 freight trucks a year through the neighborhood; 4) worsening air pollution from CO and diesel fuel emissions 5) traffic congestion, elimination of street parking, and high parking fees at the proposed mall 6) the negative economic impact of many small businesses in East Harlem; 7) the negative impact on the ambiance of the residential neighborhood of East Harlem/El Barrio. BARA has proposed that the land in question be used for residences, small business, or a waterfront promenade, instead of a Home Depot and Costco. A petition drive is underway to stop the project. The group has retained a land use lawyer and is filing a suit against the Empire State Development Corporation and a private developer on the grounds that eminent domain was used to take control of private property for the benefit of a private developer, and the failure of an environmental impact study to assess the socioeconomic impact of the project on the East Harlem community.
BARA needs money and members to continue its battles against Home Depot and Costco. For more information, contact their Outreach Coordinator, Gloria Quinones, at 212-348-8004. “We are not alone fighting a Home Depot in our backyard,” says BARA.