The City-owned land under the Jubilee House and Brookland Court social housing buildings at the north end of Emery Barnes Park had been planned and budgeted to be added to the park. Plans for a full-block Emery Barnes Park are documented in City and Park Board budgets, as reported earlier on this site.
In correspondence with a CANY member about the planned tower at 508 Helmcken, Park Board Commissioner Trevor Loke confirmed these original plans for Emery Barnes Park to occupy the entire city block.
Commissioner Loke further noted that the Park Board was not consulted or even informed that Jubilee House was to be replaced with a for-profit building. Commissioner Loke writes:
Current plans call for a private school to occupy the ground floor of the new tower at 508 Helmcken at the corner of Emery Barnes Park. When the school is in session, the school will use Emery Barnes Park as their private playground, without requesting permits or paying the daily usage fees required for legal private use of a public park.
It is disappointing to witness City staff secretly signing deals with a developer, overriding 90% public opposition to this project, and not even informing or consulting the Park Board, which has jurisdiction over the use of the park. If the building at 508 Helmcken is built, it will forever prevent the realization of the planned full-block park.
CANY is calling on the public to help fight illegal back-room deals with developers and save the original plans for a full-block Emery Barnes Park. Please sign our petition!