YONKERS, N.Y. – A long-abandoned school may be getting new life if Yonkers can find the right developer.
City officials announced this week they have released a Request for Proposal for the acquisition and redevelopment of the former School 19. The 97-year-old brick building at 70 Jackson St., has been vacant for more than two decades.
“The prioritization of this project speaks to our goal of revitalizing long-neglected city properties,” said Mayor Mike Spano. “With the right plans, this site will be restored and utilized for the benefit of residents, visitors and to further the development efforts of the city.”
Spano's office said they are looking for developers with at least 10 years of successful development experience with projects of similar scale. Yonkers would like to see this project completed without local government assistance and within three years from the time an agreement is made, according to the RFP.
The three-story building has long been the subject of redevelopment discussions since it was closed in 1991 but so far, no plans have become a reality.
It has, however, generated some recent buzz as a Yonkers-based non-profit is making public its desire to buy the building and turn it into a community center.
Community Governance and Development Council (CGDC) has teamed up with Meridian Design, an Architecture and Placemaking firm, in Manhattan to develop a plan for the building.
On its website, Meridian features preliminary sketches for a facility that would include a media education and production facility for local public- access television, after-school programming, a day-care center, auditorium, community fitness center, playground and parking, among other things.
CGDC said it is continuing to work to gather community support and raise awareness to make the zoning changes that would be necessary for the community center to be built.
“The blighted property which is owned by the city has been an eyesore in the neighborhood for years,” the group writes in its “Free School 19 Campaign.” “With support from the community, and cooperation from the City of Yonkers, we will raise the capital funds necessary in order to turn the property into a thriving neighborhood base, giving our youth access to more recreational space and creating a hub for constructive neighborhood activity.”