After 30 Years, the City Finally Returning the ‘Stanton Storehouse’ to the Community
After a protracted battle spanning decades, it appears the so-called Stanton Storehouse in Sara D. Roosevelt Park will finally return to community use. Gradually, at least. The Parks Department is set to outline its proposal this month to reactivate the onsite public bathroom. In the works for a few months, it’s a plan that could curb the excess excrement consistently found around the park.
Community Board 3 will consider the public bathroom design in a few weeks (March 16).
This momentum is partially due to an allocation of $1 million in city funding sponsored by Councilwoman Margaret Chin and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer.
K. Webster, president of the Sara D. Roosevelt Park Coalition, is pleased that the matter is finally getting some attention within the bureaucracy, and hopes the building can see its full potential. Especially after the handful of scoping sessions held last year.
“We would like to see one of the Parks Department staffed building’s bathrooms opened 24/7 with security and maintenance staffing so that our homeless population has a place to use those facilities,” Webster told us in an email. “We would like to see a local, competent not-for-profit given a lease to manage the building and its programming and that would share space with other non-profits for meeting space, etc.”
But more can be done. Webster also floated the idea, pending further input, of a shared building space that could be a drop-in center for those homeless in our park and a resiliency/bike repair/solar powering station.
The Stanton Storehouse – once upon a time a youth center – was seized by the government around thirty-some-odd years ago. Its current function remains Parks Department storage (it serves Manhattan Parks) and de-facto parking lot for city vehicles. Since 1994, though, the eponymous Sara D. Roosevelt Park Coalition has fought to reactivate this structure for community accessibility. Four years later – in 1998 – the city even promised to return the brick box to the community.
If all goes to plan, this will be the second of four park buildings between East Houston and Canal Street that is returned to the Lower East Side.