Cooper Square Committee Wins New York Main Street Grant For its East 4th Street Cultural District Program

Grant Application Supported by Senator Duane

August 10, 2007

New York -- Cooper Square Committee (CSC), a non-profit organization that works with Cooper Square area residents to preserve and develop affordable, environmentally sound housing and community spaces, has been awarded an $125,000 New York Main Street (NYMS) grant to help preserve cultural buildings on Manhattan's East Fourth Street. The grant award was announced on August 7th by the New York State Housing Trust Fund Corporation.

The NYMS funding, for CSC's "East 4th Street Cultural District Program," will provide $50,000 for facade renovations, $50,000 for interior building renovations, and $25,000 for streetscape improvements on East 4th Street between Bowery and Second Avenue. According to CSC Executive Director Steve Herrick, "The East 4th Street Cultural District Program that the grant will help fund represents one of the final elements of the Cooper Square Urban Renewal Area."

Herrick explained that CSC began this effort in 2000, by organizing the diverse theaters, dance companies and visual arts groups on East 4th Street in order to purchase six City-owned cultural buildings so they could be renovated and preserved permanently for cultural and community uses. Out of these efforts came Fourth Arts Block (FAB), a non-profit association comprised of 13 cultural and community groups, including CSC, which facilitated the purchase of the buildings from the City with the agreement that they would have specific cultural and community uses and be owned by not-for-profits in perpetuity. "In January, 2006, after the requisite land-use review process,h Herrick said, "Mayor Bloomberg held a press conference on the block to symbolically present keys for the buildings to the 10 cultural organizations that are part of FAB. Currently more than $6 million in public funds -- including, now, the NYMS funds -- have been allocated to meet these buildings' capital needs and Phase 1 renovations for each of the buildings are scheduled to begin by early 2008."

New York State Senator Thomas K. Duane (D, WFP - Manhattan), who sent a letter in support of CSC's grant proposal, said, "I am thrilled that CSC has been awarded these funds to carry out these buildings' much needed improvements and enhancements. This work will help underscore the unique cultural identity of East 4th Street, and create a strong sense of place, which in turn will contribute to increased cultural programming capacity, larger audiences and the revitalization of the block, which, after all, is the key goal of the Main Street program."

Assemblyperson Deborah Glick, Senator Martin Connor and City Councilperson Rosie Mendez also provided letters of support for CSC's grant proposal.

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