Over objections from the East River house committee, the board of directors has approved a proposal to give our community room a $73,000 renovation.
The house committee had requested the project be put on hold pending input from cooperators to determine priorities for the space and so that resident architects could offer their design ideas for improvements. The board rejected the house committee’s recommendation at its January meeting and voted to move forward without seeking any input.
Lee Berman and Peter Herb were the only directors who voted against awarding the contract.
Board member Larry Goldman has taken the lead on this project. As the board’s liaison to the house committee, he took their request to the board but voted against the delay. He told me that the house committee had two years to seek input while the project was discussed, but that their “eleventh-hour” request was ill-timed.
Larry said his main goal is to “de-institutionalize” the room in order to increase the coop’s value for prospective buyers.
Despite the price tag, the work proposed is mostly cosmetic. The main room will be painted, with new linoleum floor tiles and new lights installed in a drop ceiling. Meanwhile, the kitchen area will get new stainless steel appliances and the two bathrooms will be made handicapped-accessible.
Larry said that he admired Seward Park’s community room, but acknowledged that, to keep the price tag down, key features of their renovation will not be seen here in East River:
- no room divider to make the room multi-purpose;
- no new furniture or comfortable seating;
- no larger windows;
- no relocation to space that could be opened to the courtyard (such as the bicycle room in the same section)
Changes in the rental policy — for example to allow for hourly rentals, rather than only full day rentals at $325 — have not been discussed by the board.
The room needs a facelift, but I don’t know why the board would reject the house committee’s request, or why directors haven’t themselves sought any input over the two years they have apparently been discussing this project.
The work is set to begin in March. Until then, Cooperatively Yours will be working to solicit feedback and present comments to the board. Stay tuned.
Update: Cooperatively Yours is hosting an open meeting for all cooperators on Monday, February 23 at 7:00 p.m. to discuss the upcoming renovation of East River’s community room.
We’ll be meeting to determine cooperators’ priorities for the space and to solicit design ideas that will be presented to the board of directors.
Update 2: Please take this quick survey to help determine cooperators’ priorities. The survey will stay open until Feb. 26 at noon.